Our immune system is at the front line for controlling infection from foreign pathogens, including bacteria and viruses. A healthy, functioning immune system is fundamental to our overall health and wellbeing.
Our research is focused on understanding how our body’s elaborate, innate and adaptive immune systems can distinguish foreign pathogens from self-tissue. Malfunction of the immune system can result in the development of autoimmune disorders including type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Furthermore, inappropriate immune responses are also implicated in central nervous system diseases such as anxiety, depression, epilepsy and stroke and have been proposed to play a role in addictions and pain. Understanding immune responses, and how to control and modulate them is crucial to the successful treatment of patients requiring life-saving transplantation therapies. It is also critical for the development of safe and effective vaccines, which enable significant improvements worldwide in the health status of many communities.
Researchers across the faculty are focused on:
- developing new vaccines
- identifying novel targets in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
- understanding the role of immune cells in neural tissue (glial cells) in normal healthy brains to elucidate their role in chronic pain, drug addiction and epilepsy and identifying new targets to treat these conditions
- developing immune interventions to prevent or modulate pathologies of pregnancy and graft rejection (in transplantation settings)
- conducting clinical trials to evaluate tolerability, safety and effectiveness of new agents to control infections in patients suffering chronic infections.
Our research centres and institutes working in this area
- Robinson Research Institute (Professor Sarah Robertson)
Our research groups working in this area
- Allergy and Vaccine Research Group (Professor Michael Gold)
- Bone and Joint Research Laboratories (Professor David Haynes)
- Community Insights in Public Health Research Group (CIPHER) (Professor Annette Braunack-Mayer)
- Diabetes Research Group (Professor Jennifer Couper)
- Environment and Health Research Group (Professor Peng Bi)
- Neuroimmunopharmacology Laboratory (Professor Mark Hutchinson)
- Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery Group (Professor Peter-John Wormald)
- Reproductive Immunology Group (Professor Sarah Robertson)
- Translational Research in Oral Health Science (Dr Peter Zilm)
- Vaccines and Infectious Disease Unit (Professor Helen Marshall)
For additional leads in this area of research, please contact Immunology and Infection researchers.
We offer exciting opportunities for researchers at the honours, masters and PhD levels. Our research degrees are open to a broad range of backgrounds, and range from basic sciences to clinical research. If you are interested in human health, consider furthering your research career with us.