Dengue vaccine research
Dengue has become a major global public health threat and also poses a problem for Australians visiting dengue endemic regions of the world and Australians living in the tropical north of Australia. An incomplete understanding of the immunological correlates of protective immunity to dengue virus (DENV) has hampered the development a highly efficacious vaccine. Using a robust HIS mouse model that recapitulates many aspects of human dengue disease, Joe’s group is investigating the immunological responses to DENV to enable them to study the critical determinants of protective immune responses to DENV infection and dengue vaccines.
Hepatitis C vaccine research
Joe’s group has produced a quadrivalent hepatitis C virus like particle (VLP) vaccine and is testing it in an in vivo challenge model, a large animal model and in Human Immune System (HIS) mice. They are now investigating the ability of their vaccine to produce neutralising antibody responses to critical quaternary neutralising viral epitopes and the role of T follicular helper (Tfh) cells as an important CD4+ T cell subset involved in the clearance of and protection against hepatitis C. Their studies in humanized mice and with in vivo challenge models will pave the way for future studies of our quadrivalent hepatitis C vaccine in humans.
Professor Joe Torresi is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and a Professor of Medicine, University of Melbourne. He is an infectious diseases physician at the Austin hospital, Knox Private Hospital, a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, has a PhD in Microbiology and is co-director of the Australian GeoSentinel Surveillance network site. Joseph heads a hepatitis virology laboratory at the Doherty Institute, which is focused on vaccine and immunology research for hepatitis C and hepatitis B and C pathogenesis.