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.
Elizabeth Powter completed her honours project under the supervison of Professor Jenny Gamble and Dr Mai Tran. Her project focused on identifying proteins that interact with SENEX, a novel gene capable of inducing premature endothelial cell senescence, and determining their influence on the inflammatory nature of SENEX-induced senescent cells. Her project defined a novel role for caveolae in regulating the inflammatory phenotype of senescent cells. Further, along with others from the Vascular Biology lab, her work has prompted a re-evaluation of the current idea of the nature of senescent cells in the vasculature.
David MacDonald completed his honours project with the Liver Immunology group under the supervision of Dr Patrick Bertolino and Dr David Bowen. Specifically, this year he has been investigating the role of TCR affinity in shaping CD8+ T cell responses in the liver. In August he received the first place prize for best oral presentation by an honours student at the Australasian Society for Immunology’s (ASI’s) NSW branch meeting for a presentation on his research.