The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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

Dr Ajithkumar Vasanthakumar

Dr Ajithkumar Vasanthakumar

Dr Ajithkumar Vasanthakumar

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Research Fellow
Discovery Research
Department of Microbiology and Immunology (DMI) , The University of Melbourne
Lab Group(s):
Kallies Group

Dr Vasanthakumar is a research fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and leads the Treg research team within the laboratory of Professor Axel Kallies. He received his PhD from Madurai Kamaraj University (India), where he discovered a novel genetic switch that regulated antibiotic biosynthesis in bacteria. He took up immunology research during his postdoctoral training in Melbourne and pioneered in the field of regulatory T cell (Treg) biology. He is currently pursuing fundamental and applied questions at the intersection of tissue biology and immunology to better understand autoimmunity, metabolic diseases and cancer. 

  • Key Achievements
    • Dr Vasanthakumar has contributed significantly towards understanding the crosstalk between tissues and Treg cells in health and disease. He discovered key mechanisms utilized by Treg cells to adapt to distinct tissue niches (Vasanthakumar et al., Nature Immunology 2015). His recent pioneering work uncovered sex-differences in immune cells that explained why men are prone to metabolic diseases (Vasanthakumar et al., Nature 2020). He is a founding member and co-ordinator of the Immunometabolism special interest group of ASI and co-organizer of a Treg forum for Australian researchers. His work is supported by grants from NHMRC and Diabetes Australia.

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    Research Groups
    • Kallies Group

      The Kallies group studies the molecular control of lymphocyte differentiation in response to antigen with a particular focus on T cells residing in non-lymphoid tissues, including tumors.

      Lab Team

      • Dr Jonas Blume
        Postdoctoral Researcher
      • Dr Sarah Gabriel
        Postdoctoral Researcher
      • Dr Patrick Gubser
        Postdoctoral Researcher
      • Research Fellow
      • Dr Daniel Utzschneider
        Postdoctoral Fellow
      • Renee Gloury
        Research Assistant
      • Teisha Mason
        Research Support Officer
      • Carlson Tsui
        Research Officer
      • Santiago Valle Torres
        PhD Student