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About me

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).

Research description

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.



Bacterial deception of MAIT cells in a cloud of superantigen and cytokines
Sandberg Jk, Norrby-teglund A, Leeansyah E
PLoS biology 2017;15(7):e2003167-

Extensive Phenotypic Analysis, Transcription Factor Profiling, and Effector Cytokine Production of Human MAIT Cells by Flow Cytometry
Dias J, Sandberg Jk, Leeansyah E
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 2017;1514():241-256

MAIT cells reside in the female genital mucosa and are biased towards IL-17 and IL-22 production in response to bacterial stimulation
Gibbs A, Leeansyah E, Introini A, Paquin-proulx D, Hasselrot K, Andersson E, et al
Mucosal immunology 2017;10(1):35-45

Multiple layers of heterogeneity and subset diversity in human MAIT cell responses to distinct microorganisms and to innate cytokines
Dias J, Leeansyah E, Sandberg Jk
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2017;114(27):E5434-E5443

Human MAIT-cell responses to Escherichia coli: activation, cytokine production, proliferation, and cytotoxicity
Dias J, Sobkowiak Mj, Sandberg Jk, Leeansyah E
Journal of leukocyte biology 2016;100(1):233-40

Innate Invariant NKT Cell Recognition of HIV-1-Infected Dendritic Cells Is an Early Detection Mechanism Targeted by Viral Immune Evasion
Paquin-proulx D, Gibbs A, Bächle Sm, Checa A, Introini A, Leeansyah E, et al
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) 2016;197(5):1843-51

Nonreversible MAIT cell-dysfunction in chronic hepatitis C virus infection despite successful interferon-free therapy
Hengst J, Strunz B, Deterding K, Ljunggren Hg, Leeansyah E, Manns Mp, et al
European journal of immunology 2016;46(9):2204-10

Arming of MAIT Cell Cytolytic Antimicrobial Activity Is Induced by IL-7 and Defective in HIV-1 Infection
Leeansyah E, Svärd J, Dias J, Buggert M, Nyström J, Quigley Mf, et al
PLoS pathogens 2015;11(8):e1005072-

Acquisition of innate-like microbial reactivity in mucosal tissues during human fetal MAIT-cell development
Leeansyah E, Loh L, Nixon Df, Sandberg Jk
Nature communications 2014;5():3143-

Natural killer T cell defects in multiple myeloma and the impact of lenalidomide therapy
Chan Ac, Neeson P, Leeansyah E, Tainton K, Quach H, Prince Hm, et al

No difference in the rate of change in telomere length or telomerase activity in HIV-infected patients after three years of darunavir/ritonavir with and without nucleoside analogues in the MONET trial
Solomon A, Tennakoon S, Leeansyah E, Arribas J, Hill A, Van Delft Y, et al
PloS one 2014;9(11):e109718-

Will loss of your mucosa-associated invariant T cells weaken your HAART? (vol 27, pg 2501, 2013)
Sandberg Jk, Dias J, Shacklett Bl, Leeansyah E
AIDS 2014;28(1):147-147

Activation, exhaustion, and persistent decline of the antimicrobial MR1-restricted MAIT-cell population in chronic HIV-1 infection
Leeansyah E, Ganesh A, Quigley Mf, Sönnerborg A, Andersson J, Hunt Pw, et al
Blood 2013;121(7):1124-35

Ex-vivo analysis of human natural killer T cells demonstrates heterogeneity between tissues and within established CD4(+) and CD4(-) subsets
Chan Ac, Leeansyah E, Cochrane A, D'udekem D'acoz Y, Mittag D, Harrison Lc, et al
Clinical and experimental immunology 2013;172(1):129-37

Inhibition of Telomerase Activity by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Nucleos(t)ide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors: A Potential Factor Contributing to HIV-Associated Accelerated Aging
Leeansyah E, Cameron Pu, Solomon A, Tennakoon S, Velayudham P, Gouillou M, et al

Soluble biomarkers of HIV transmission, disease progression and comorbidities
Leeansyah E, Malone Df, Anthony Dd, Sandberg Jk
Current opinion in HIV and AIDS 2013;8(2):117-24

Will loss of your MAITs weaken your HAART [corrected]?
Sandberg Jk, Dias J, Shacklett Bl, Leeansyah E
AIDS (London, England) 2013;27(16):2501-4

Contact-dependent interference with invariant NKT cell activation by herpes simplex virus-infected cells
Bosnjak L, Sahlström P, Paquin-proulx D, Leeansyah E, Moll M, Sandberg Jk
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) 2012;188(12):6216-24

Decreased NK Cell FcR gamma in HIV-1 Infected Individuals Receiving Combination Antiretroviral Therapy: a Cross Sectional Study
Leeansyah E, Zhou Jl, Paukovics G, Lewin Sr, Crowe Sm, Jaworowski A
PLOS ONE 2010;5(3):e9643-

Testing the NKT cell hypothesis in lenalidomide-treated myelodysplastic syndrome patients
Chan Ac, Neeson P, Leeansyah E, Tainton K, Quach H, Prince Hm, et al
LEUKEMIA 2010;24(3):592-600

The mechanism underlying defective Fc gamma receptor-mediated phagocytosis by HIV-1-infected human monocyte-derived macrophages
Leeansyah E, Wines Bd, Crowe Sm, Jaworowski A
JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY 2007;178(2):1096-104

Impaired complement-mediated phagocytosis by HIV type-1-infected human monocyte-derived macrophages involves a cAMP-dependent mechanism
Azzam R, Kedzierska K, Leeansyah E, Chan H, Doischer D, Gorry Pr, et al

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