The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Understanding T cell help for antiviral vaccines

Kent group

T follicular helper (Tfh) cells in lymph nodes are critical to the generation of effective neutralising antibody responses to controls SARS-CoV2 and Influenza. Our recent work in SARS-CoV2 showed specific subsets of circulating Tfh helped people generate neutralising antibodies against COVID19 (Juno et al, Nature Medicine 2020). We can now probe the transcriptional profile of circulating Tfh in humans and lymph node Tfh in animal models to refine the types of Tfh responsible for protecting against these 2 devastating diseases. This work will involve cellular and molecular biology approaches to refine our understanding of immunity to these viruses and develop better vaccines. Some of the technologies are illustrated in our recent work in Cell Reports (Wragg et al Cell Reports 2020).

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Project Supervisor

Professor Stephen Kent

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Jennifer Juno

Project availability

Kent group

7 vacancies

Cross Cutting Disciplines

Research Projects 2019 | 25 The Kent group has an interest in understanding how the immune response can be harnessed in the control of infectious pathogens including HIV, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and influenza. This includes understanding non-conventional T cells and how they are impacted by HIV infection despite the fact that they are not target cells for HIV replication. We use animal models to investigate ways to manipulate these cells and to understand how they are regulated during viral infection. We also examine how antibodies can instruct the innate immune system to attack invading pathogens through their Fc regions. Our research aims to understand the mechanisms behind these antibodies in order to guide the development of more effective antibody therapeutics and vaccines.