Nobel Laureate Professor Rolf Zinkernagel engaged in a dynamic round table discussion with Centenary Institute scientists this morning.
Professor Rolf Zinkernagel at the Centenary Institute
Professor Zinkernagel – Professor Emeritus of The University of Zurich, Switzerland – is the 1996 Nobel Laureate (with Professor Peter Doherty) in Medicine “for research on the biochemical mechanism with which the immune system recognises and destroys virus-infected cells”.
Five of Centenary’s scientists were excited to have the privilege of presenting and discussing their latest immunologically based research to their peers and the internationally renowned superstar of the scientific and medical world. Continue reading →
Sydney researchers have discovered a new type of immune cell in skin that plays a role in fighting off parasitic invaders such as ticks, mites, and worms, and could be linked to eczema and allergic skin diseases.
The team from the Immune Imaging and T cell Laboratories at the Centenary Institute worked with colleagues from SA Pathology in Adelaide, the Malaghan Institute in Wellington, New Zealand and the USA.
The new cell type is part of a family known as group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2) which was discovered less than five years ago in the gut and the lung, where it has been linked to asthma. But this is the first time such cells have been found in the skin, and they are relatively more numerous there.
“Our data show that these skin ILC2 cells are likely to supress or stimulate inflammation under different conditions,” says Dr Ben Roediger, a research officer in the Immune Imaging Laboratory at Centenary headed by Professor Wolfgang Weninger. “They also suggest a potential link to allergic skin diseases.” Continue reading →
Thomas Tu is the lastest member of our Liver Cell Biology lab
Sometimes the little scientist in me wakes up early. Catching the train, I look around and I’m surrounded by walking, talking, reading ecosystems. Crowding along the platform are sentient islands of interactions between billions of cells. Healthy environments are self-correcting, stable and all work to a common harmonious goal. Mostly, our bodies are no different: many (such as the respiratory, immune, and nervous) systems working together seamlessly. They are deeply complex; each system is composed of organs that are, in turn, made up of tissues that are composed of cells.
Following the prick of a rose thorn, a paper cut, or an infection our bodies start to fight back. And the defence begins with inflammation. That inflamed, tender, red patch we all know as the hallmark of a wound or infection is the result of certain white blood cells summoning the troops and increasing the blood supply to deal with a wound or invasion.
Professor Wolfgang Weninger, head of Centenary’s Immune Imaging program, who leads our work in research, says “understanding inflammation is becoming an important topic across Centenary, helping us understand cardiovascular disease, organ rejection and auto-immune diseases, for example. Another important issue is ageing. Our immune system response changes with age. It’s part of the process of ageing, where the body becomes less and less capable of coping with destructive events.”
Congratulations to Elizabeth Powter (Vascular Biology) and David MacDonald (Liver Immunology), who tied for first place in the class of 2012 USYD Immunology and Infectious Diseases Honours program. There were 19 students in the program this year, 9 of whom were based at the Centenary Institute.
Dr Chris Jolly has made an important contribution to understanding how infections can trigger autoimmune diseases
The Centenary Institute has made an important contribution to a significant study that suggests how infections can trigger serious autoimmune diseases such as rheumatic fever.
The research, just published in the international journal Immunity, shows how, in unusual circumstances, the B cells of the immune system occasionally work against the body, producing antibodies that attack the cells of our own organs—in the case of rheumatic fever, the heart.
The latest NHMRC funding will help Centenary's ground-breaking research, such as in the T-Cell Biology lab, headed by Professor Barbara Fazekas de St Groth.
Centenary scientists have won over $5 million in the latest NHMRC grant round – with seven research grants and three early career fellowships.
The development of a TB vaccine, the genetic regulation of ageing, the fundamental workings of the immune system, the genetic basis of heart disease—these are some of the research areas of key interest to Centenary Institute for which the Australian Government has announced funding through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Centenary also boasts three new NHMRC Early-Career Fellows along with seven significant research projects in the medical research funding released on Friday.
Sight seeing at the British Museum, London, en route to ECI 2012, Glasgow.
There comes a time in people’s careers when they have to step up. However, for Michelle Vo, this was no ordinary challenge.
It required a new passport, a 33,000km round trip, competition from 11 international PhD candidates and quite literally ‘stepping up’ into the bright lights of the big stage. Adding to the excitement, this was also Michelle’s first time abroad.
Michelle was selected to present at the European Congress of Immunology (ECI) 2012, in Glasgow, Scotland, with an audience from 31 European countries and beyond, where she picked up the 2nd place prize in the Bright Sparks in ECImmunology.
‘A “bright spark” is defined… as someone who is thought of as particularly smart and quick-witted (…and sometimes, perhaps, a little too smart and quick-witted)…’ Continue reading →
Centenary’s resident immune system imager and dermatologist, Professor Wolfgang Weninger, has played a key role in proposing a new model of how the enforcer cells (T cells) of our immune system search for a parasitic pathogen in the brain.
And it turns out that T cells on the prowl have much in common with marine predators, such as tuna and sharks, as to how they track down their prey.
It’s part of a long-standing collaboration with researchers in the US. The work has just been published in the top-ranking science journal Nature and should give us a better handle on how to support the body’s defences against disease.