Fern is an ARC DECRA fellow at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, at The University of Melbourne. She completed her PhD with Professor Dale Godfrey in 2017 for which she received the departmental QIAGEN PhD Award, the Zoetis PhD Oration award, and the Victorian Government Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research (Basic Science) on identifying, characterising and mapping thymic development of an immune cell type called MAIT cells. More recently Fern has secured competitive NHMRC and ARC Early Career fellowships to continue her research, extending upon innate-like T cell development, homeostasis, subsets and their functional diversity, with a view to harness these unconventional immune cells in a variety of disease settings and immunotherapies.
Since 2015, Fern has contributed to the forefront of research into unconventional T cells, which included articles, reviews, and commentaries in journals including Nature Immunology, Science Immunology, Immunity, Nature Communications, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and Journal of Experimental Medicine. Her research is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC), and University of Melbourne early career and collaborative grants. Fern regularly presents at international and national conferences accompanied by travel awards, and is a visiting scholar to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Her work has been recognised by awards including the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Immunology 2020 Thermo Fisher Trainee Achievement Award. In addition, Fern is passionate about communicating science through Day of Immunology and National Science Week roles. She exhibits ongoing early career leadership and profile by co-chairing the MDHS Early Career Researcher (ECR) network and contributing to the Faculty Research Committee, where the ECR team’s work was recognised with the 2021 MDHS Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion.
Fern's Google Scholar
Full University of Melbourne profile