The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Understanding immune perturbations to viral infections in pregnant women

Kedzierska group

Pregnant women experience disproportionate rates of severe illness and death from respiratory diseases like influenza and COVID-19. The underlying immunological, viral and host genetic factors of severe influenza disease and COVID-19 in this high-risk group are far from clear and will be investigated in this project. We will define immune mechanisms underlying severe COVID-19 and influenza in pregnant women, and define key targets that provide at least some level of protection. Key immune correlates identified via singe cell transcriptomic analysis (10X-CITEseq) of immune cells from pregnant and non-pregnant women, will be tested for their role in conferring disease susceptibility or protection. Using cutting-edge human immunology, this project will dissect the mechanisms of how immune responses drive recovery from severe respiratory diseases.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Professor Katherine Kedzierska

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Louise Rowntree

Jennifer Habel

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Kedzierska group

2 vacancies

Viral Infectious Diseases
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research
Indigenous Health
Clinical and health systems research

The Kedzierska group has a strong international profile in human immunology, with a major focus on universal broadly-protective immunity to pandemic, avian and seasonal influenza A and influenza B viruses as well as SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our main goal is to identify key protective correlates of recovery from severe respiratory disease in high-risk groups, including children and the elderly, and to understand mechanisms underlying generation of optimal immunity to respiratory infections versus perturbed immunity in vulnerable populations, including pregnant women. In particular, we are interested in generating long-lasting immunity elicited by killer T-cells recognising conserved viral regions. Our work intends to improve vaccine and therapeutic designs to protect against severe viral infections, including influenza and COVID-19, with possible applications to other infectious diseases and tumours.

Kedzierska group Current Projects