Development of effector regulatory T cells
After exiting the thymus, Treg cells undergo further differentiation in the periphery. During this process they acquire full suppressive capacity, including IL-10 production, and further diversify into multiple specialized Treg cell types that can enter distinct tissues. Here effector Treg cells exert critical functions such as repressing tissue inflammation, mediating tissue repair and regulating metabolism. This project examines the molecular control of effector Treg cell development, diversification and function.
Sex-specific regulation of adipose tissue immune cells
Adipose tissue is an energy store and a vital endocrine organ, which plays a central role in maintaining organismal metabolism. It also contains a large number and diversity of immune cells, most notably Treg cells that are critical in maintaining adipose tissue health. Impairments in adipose tissue immune cells result in obesity and metabolic disease, such as type 2 diabetes. We have found striking differences in the composition of immune and stromal cells within the adipose, controlled by sex hormones. This project aims to understand sex-specific immune cell regulation and its consequences for the development of metabolic disease.
Precursor exhausted T cells in chronic infection and tumors
Cytotoxic T cells are essential for tumor control and immunotherapy. However, T cells persistently exposed to antigen during chronic viral infections and in tumors undergo dramatic changes resulting in impaired effector function, a state known as ‘exhaustion’. Recent work by us and others has identified that a subset of these cells (precursor exhausted cells, TPEX) maintain high proliferative potential and respond to checkpoint inhibition. This project examines how TPEX develop and how they can be targeted to advance therapy for chronic infections and cancer.
Tissue-resident memory T cells
During an immune response, T cells develop into memory cells that protect from secondary infection. Tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM) are a subset of memory T cells, residing permanently in peripheral sites such as the lung, liver and small intestine. TRM cells have also been found in cancer where they play an important role in tumor control. In this project, we utilize new tools that allow us to specifically study the development of TRM cells and target them in conditions of tumor growth.
Professor Axel Kallies
(03) 9035 4611 | [email protected]
Professor Axel Kallies completed his PhD in Berlin, Germany, working on macrophage development. He then started his postdoctoral fellowship in the group of Stephen Nutt at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) where he worked on the control of plasma cell differentiation. In 2010 he started his laboratory at the WEHI and began his research which was focused on T-cell biology. In 2017, he was recruited as a full-time professor to the University of Melbourne.