Organising Committee

Symposium Chair

Professor Jose Villadangos

José Villadangos is a Professor of the University of Melbourne with a dual appointment in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Peter Doherty Institute and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Bio21 Institute. His main research interests are the cells and molecules involved in Antigen Presentation and T cell Recognition, events that underpin every activity of the adaptive immune system.

José obtained his PhD from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 1994. Subsequently he trained at MIT (Cambridge, USA), Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA), and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI, Melbourne, Australia). He started his own laboratory at WEHI in 2001 and moved to The University of Melbourne in 2011.

José has authored over 120 original articles, reviews and book chapters. He has received funding from the Human Frontiers Science Program, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Cancer Research Institute, the Anti-Cancer Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and the Australian Research Council. José is the Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Immunology and Current Research in Immunology. He was also President of the International Congress of Immunology 2016 held in Melbourne and is an Honorary Life Member and recipient of the Derek Rowley Medal of the Australasian Society for Immunology.

Organising Committee

Professor Sammy Bedoui

Sammy Bedoui holds a medical degree from the Hannover Medical School in Germany and heads a laboratory at the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne. Sammy is Co-Theme leader of Immunology at the Doherty Institute and is Director of an international PhD student exchange program with the University of Bonn in Germany, having previously held positions at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, the National Institute of Neuroscience in Tokyo and the Hannover Medical School. Sammy’s work has shed new light into understanding how dendritic cells integrate multiple signals into protective immunity against infections. His research has defined how particular types of T cells protect the host from bacterial infections, uncovering that these responses are regulated through the stimulation of inflammasomes in dendritic cells. His work on virus infections has identified how different dendritic cell types contribute to the initiation of virus-specific immunity and has delineated how specific viral fragments and in coordination with innate mediators augment these responses. Ongoing work interrogates how cues derived from cell death, microbiota and innate signals regulated immunity against intracellular infections and cancer.

 
Dr Justine Mintern

Dr Justine Mintern is an ARC Future Fellow and heads the Vaccine Biology laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Melbourne and the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, Melbourne Australia. Justine completed her PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Australia and undertook postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA) and the Whitehead Institute for Medical Research (Boston, USA) before returning to The University of Melbourne, Australia to head her own laboratory. Justine’s research dissects the molecular pathways involved in promoting effective immune responses. Ongoing research includes understanding how to initiate immunity to tumours and infection and the use of cutting-edge nanotechnology to design effective vaccines. She has made fundamental discoveries that have advanced our understanding of antigen presentation pathways and dendritic cell biology.

 

A/Prof Meredith O’Keefe

Associate Professor Meredith O’Keeffe is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Laboratory of Dendritic Cell Driven Immunity in Health and Disease, Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University. Meredith received her PhD from Monash University in 1998 and then spent 6 years in the laboratory of Prof Ken Shortman, WEHI where she was trained in dendritic cell biology. She then worked at Bavarian-Nordic GmbH, Munich, Germany and returned to Australia in 2009, setting up a lab at the Burnet Institute, Melbourne. At the end of 2015 Meredith relocated her lab to Monash University.

Meredith’s laboratory investigates how pathogens and their products and/or or self-nucleic acids activate dendritic cells. We aim to decipher how this activation influences the function of dendritic cells. We investigate how this process may differ in different body locations, at different ages and in different disease settings. Major aims are to understand the role of dendritic cells in bacterial infections, cancers and in autoimmune diseases such as Lupus.

A common theme connecting these studies has been the production of IFN-lambda by dendritic cells and the role of this interferon in dendritic cell function.

 

A/Prof Kristen Radford 

A/Prof Kristen Radford is a Principal Research Fellow and Group Leader of the Cancer Immunotherapies Research Team at Mater Research. She undertook a PhD in melanoma biology at the University of Newcastle, NSW, followed by postdoctoral positions at Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London (now Cancer Research UK) and Mater Research. A/Prof Radford’s research is focused on understanding human dendritic cell (DC) biology and translating findings into health benefits. Her group first characterised the rare human CD141+ (cDC1) DC subset, which is now considered crucial for tumour and viral immune responses and are attractive targets for vaccine development. They are now pursuing the therapeutic potential of this discovery with the development of new cancer vaccines that specifically target this subset in vivo.