The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


Research Projects

Project: The immune signature of sepsis

Villadangos Group

There is an urgent need for treatments of sepsis, which is a dysregulated immune response to infection causing one in five deaths gloablly. Alhough this burden is highest in low-income countries, over 10% of Australian Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admissions are due to sepsis, with ~25% of these patients dying in hospital. Currently, there are no therapies to reverse sepsis-induced organ failure. Phase 1 clinical trials are now testing the use of mega dose sodium ascorbate (a formulation of Vitamin C) to treat sepsis. This project will use blood samples from Phase 1 human clinical trials and blood and tissue samples from large animal studies of sepsis. We will perform detailed immune phenotype analysis and functional cellular assays using flow cytometry as our main research tool to investigate how the immune signature of sepsis changes over time in ICU and with treatment. This will help us understand the immunological signature of sepsis and identify patients most likely to benefit from treatment.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Laura Cook

Project Co-supervisor

Professor Jose Villadangos

Associate Professor Yugeesh Lankadeva

Dr Mark Plummer

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Villadangos Group

6 vacancies

Viral Infectious Diseases
Antimicrobial Resistance
Bacterial and Parasitic Infections
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research
Clinical and health systems research

The Villadangos group studies the first event that triggers adaptive immune responses: the presentation of pathogen or tumour antigens to T cells by dendritic cells, B cells and macrophages. We are characterising the development, regulation and impairment of antigen presenting cells by pathogens, inflammatory mediators and tumours. We are also dissecting the biochemical machinery involved in antigen capture, processing and presentation. We use this knowledge to understand how T cell-dependent immunity is initiated and maintained, and apply it to design better vaccines and immunotherapies against infectious agents and cancer.

Villadangos Group Current Projects