Dr Louise Rowntree is an early-mid career scientist with extensive expertise in viral immunology in vulnerable populations. Louise completed her PhD in 2016 at Monash University investigating human cross-reactive CD8+ T-cells in viral infections. She joined Professor Tony Purcell's Laboratory (Monash) between 2016 - 2018 to further explore T-cell cross-reactivity between viral and self-antigens and identify allopeptides. Louise joined Professor Katherine Kedzierska’s Laboratory at the Doherty Institute in 2019, where her work focuses on dissecting anti-viral responses in high-risk groups, including First Nations peoples, patients with co-morbidities, children and pregnant women, with an emphasis on T-cell epitope identification and T-cell responses associated with severe disease.
Louise has worked in viral T-cell immunity since 2011, most recently on influenza and SARS-CoV-2. She has published a number of peer-reviewed research articles, exemplified by a world-first report of a SARS-CoV-2 CD8+ T-cell specificity early in the pandemic (PNAS-2020) and publications detailing the establishment of SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cells following COVID-19 infection in adults (Immunity-2021) and children (Immunity-2022). She is the recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award (2012), Best Oral European Federation for Immunogenetics (2015), Rutherford Fellowship (2018) and Keystone Symposia Scholarship (2022). Her emerging international profile is recognised by internationally invited talks and selected international abstract presentations with travel grants and speaker prizes.
Professor Katherine Kedzierska’s team researches immunity to viral infections, especially the newly emerged SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. Her work spans basic research from mouse experiments to human immunity through to clinical settings, with particular focus on understanding universal CD8+ T cell immunity to respiratory viruses. Her studies aim to identify key correlates of severe and fatal respiratory disease in high-risk groups including children, the elderly, Australian First Nations people, pregnant women and patients with co-morbidities.