The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Molecular basis for growth factor immune-surveillance in plasmacytoid dendritic cells

Barrow group

Many viruses encode GF homologues that induce proliferative lesions required for viral pathogenesis. We have recently shown the ITAM receptor NKp44 drives cancer immune-surveillance by sensing platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-D. Many viruses encode GF homologues and the gene for PDGF-D is associated with interferon levels, suggesting polymorphisms in GF immune-surveillance pathways are driven by selective pressure imposed by viruses. PDGF-D binding to NKp44 enhances interferon secretion by plasmacytoid dendritic cells, suggesting ITAM receptors sense GFs induced upon virus infection to enhance Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling. The project will identify the molecules and sets of conditions that integrate ITAM and TLR signalling and constitute the basis for ‘infectious GF immune-surveillance’ in innate immune cells. 

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Alexander Barrow

Project Co-supervisor

Professor Andrew Brooks

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Barrow group

[email protected]

2 vacancies

Host Pathogens Interactions
Viral Infectious Diseases
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research

The Barrow group is interested in a new avenue of immunological research termed growth factor surveillance. Growth factors (GFs) are over-expressed by tumours to promote angiogenesis, stromal reaction and tumour growth. Moreover, many viruses encode GFs that are required for viral infectivity in vivo. The goal of our lab is to understand how GF surveillance receptors control immune responses to tumours and pathogens with the ultimate aim of identifying critical nodes in these pathways that can be exploited for cancer immunotherapy and vaccine development. 

Barrow group Current Projects