The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


Research Projects

Project: Interrogating B cell immunity to influenza vaccines

Kent group

Influenza remains a persistent threat to human health, with current vaccines eliciting sub-optimal and transient protection from infection. Mechanistically, vaccine protection is afforded by antibodies targeting a cluster of highly variable sites in the viral entry protein hemagglutinin (HA). However, next-generation vaccines seek to expand immune recognition to alternative sites within HA, or alternative viral proteins, in order to increase protective breadth. This project will utilise advanced microscopy and flow cytometry-based techniques to interrogate influenza-specific B cell responses (memory B cells, antibodies) to infection and immunisation in both relevant animal models of human influenza, and human clinical samples. Insights will be used to guide the design and testing of novel influenza vaccine concepts in animal models.

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Project Supervisor

Professor Stephen Kent

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Adam Wheatley, Dr Hyon-Xhi Tan

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Kent group

[email protected]

3 vacancies

Cross Cutting Disciplines

Research Projects 2019 | 25 The Kent group has an interest in understanding how the immune response can be harnessed in the control of infectious pathogens including HIV, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and influenza. This includes understanding non-conventional T cells and how they are impacted by HIV infection despite the fact that they are not target cells for HIV replication. We use animal models to investigate ways to manipulate these cells and to understand how they are regulated during viral infection. We also examine how antibodies can instruct the innate immune system to attack invading pathogens through their Fc regions. Our research aims to understand the mechanisms behind these antibodies in order to guide the development of more effective antibody therapeutics and vaccines.