The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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

  • Research Groups
    • Doherty Group

      Peter has been working consistently in the areas of T cell and viral immunology since the early 1970’s. His work focuses on cellular and molecular aspects of virus-specific CD8+ T cells. Peter’s studies provide insights into acquisition of effector functions by CD8+ T cells, immunodominance, persistence of memory CD8+ T cells and their subsequent recall.

      Other work areas include:Immunology

    Current Projects

    • To define ‘universal’ influenza-specific CD8+ T-cell responses across different HLAs

      Although CD8+ T-cells confer universal immunity to distinct influenza viruses and may limit influenza-induced mortality, the overall efficacy of human influenza A virus-specific CD8+ T cells directed at any conserved and/or variable epitopes remains unclear. Here, Katherine’s group aims to (i) understand influenza-specific CD8+ T-cell immunity across different HLAs; (ii) determine the efficacy of immunodominant CD8+ T-cell responses in humans; (iii) evaluate the conservation of immunogenic epitopes in birds, pigs and humans through analysis of viral evolutionary history (with Associate Professor Vijaykrishna from Duke-NUS in Singapore); (iv) understand immunity to clinically important but understudied influenza B viruses. 

    • To identify correlates of severe and fatal influenza disease in high-risk groups

      Enhanced susceptibility to influenza and exacerbated disease severity can reflect over-activation of the innate immune system, impaired humoral and cellular immunity and be influenced by host genetic factors (HLA or IFITM3). Understanding the key deficits that lead to severe disease in high-risk groups will provide insight into how immune interventions might minimise the incidence of severe influenza pneumonia. Katherine’s group studies the contributions of virological, immunological, clinical and host factors to susceptibility, clinical severity and outcome for different high-risk groups: (i) young children and the elderly (with Dr Crowe from Deepdene Surgery); (ii) Indigenous Australians (with Associate Professor Tong from Menzies in Darwin and Professor Miller from Griffith University in New South Wales), (iii) high-risk groups hospitalised through FluCAN (with Associate Professors Cheng and Kotsimbos) and Shanghai Public Clinical Hospital at Fudan University in China (with Professor Xu).

    • To unravel mechanisms underlying the early generation of human CTL memory

      Though immunological memory is of pivotal importance for vaccine development and immunotherapy, the molecular and differentiation pathways central to the generation of (particularly) human CD8+ T-cell memory are poorly understood. Here, Katherine’s group aims to (i) establish the key factors driving the early establishment of influenza-specific T cell memory; (ii) To define molecular processes involved in CD27-mediated co-stimulation of human T cells. As memory is crucial for protection against recurrent infections, this work will provide novel insights into the generation and efficacy of human T cell memory populations and inform effective CD27-mediated stimulation for immunotherapy. 

    Lab Team

    Doherty Group

    Clinical Research

    Anyone can be infected by influenza, but some people are more susceptible to infection, severe disease and clinical complications. Clinical studies at the Doherty Institute are focused on specific risk groups, seeking to understand characteristics of viruses and the immune system that result in increased susceptibility and clinical severity. In particular, current studies are considering:

    Doherty Institute researchers are also characterising immune responses to influenza vaccination or infection in various groups of people, including:

    Now recruiting volunteers

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    Current projects

    • Influenza

      How do cross-reactive memory B cells affect influenza vaccine titers?

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    • Influenza

      LIFT: Investigating T cell immunity to influenza in Indigenous populations

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    • Influenza

      Understanding immunity to influenza viruses in patients hospitalised with severe and fatal disease

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