I'm an Assistant Professor in the laboratory of Prof. Johan K. Sandberg at Center for Infectious Medicine. I obtained my doctoral degree in HIV immunopathogenesis in 2008 at Monash University in Australia. I have since continued working in HIV immunopathogenesis research, and broadened my research interests in innate and mucosal immunity.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Immunology. The Burnet Institute, and Department of Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (2008).
Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Honours). First Class Honours. The Burnet Institute, and Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (2003).
Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences. Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (2002).
I'm currently studying the newly-described mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells in health and disease. MAIT cells are a large subset of innate-like invariant T cells that are abundant in mucosal tissues, the liver, and circulation of healthy humans. MAIT cells recognise the very recently discovered microbial vitamin B2 metabolites derived from a wide range of microbes presented by the highly evolutionarily conserved MHC class I-like MR1 molecules. Recent studies indicate that they respond rapidly through cell-mediated cellular cytotoxicity, suppression of intracellular microbial growth, and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, MAIT cells represent an arm of cell-mediated immunity that can recognise and respond to a principally novel and conserved type of antigenic structure.
The study of human MAIT cells is still in its infancy, and many aspects of MAIT cells immunobiology in health and disease are still unexplored. My primary research interest is to understand their biology in health and their role in chronic infections associated with persistent inflammation. We have very recently shown that, unlike in mice, the development and maturation of MAIT cells in humans occurs prior to the establishment of the commensal microflora. We have also recently shown the involvement and potential role of MAIT cells in HIV immunopathogenesis.