Molecular Immunology

The Molecular Immunology Laboratory works on the immunology of malaria, cancer and autoimmunity. In 2016, the laboratory discovered Programmed cell death1 Ligand 2 (PD-L2) was contrary to dogma, not a “brake” on the immune system, but actually an essential activator of immunity. The laboratory has since then used this finding to develop multiple immunotherapies and diagnostics for the treatment of cancer and autoimmunity. The first immunotherapy for cancer was licensed to Merck KGaA in 2020. However, the laboratory continues to also undertake basic immunological research to dissect the reason for loss of immunity during malaria and cancer or hyper-responses during autoimmunity.


  • development of a novel biologic immunotherapy for cancer
  • further development of an antibody immunotherapy for cancer
  • development of a novel immunotherapy for autoimmunity
  • development of diagnostics to select patients who would benefit from immunotherapies
  • basic research in cancer and autoimmunity to gain insight into these diseases


  • Mr Deshapriya Karunarathne, Senior Research Assistant
  • Ji Liu, Research Assistant , Senior Research Assistant
  • Dr Rebecca Faleiro

Internal Collaborators

External Collaborators

  • Professor Arlene Sharpe, Harvard Medical School
  • Dr Susan K. Pierce, National of Health, Rockville USA
  • Dr Laurent Renia, A*Star SIgN, Singapore
  • Louis Miller, National of Health, Rockville USA
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • The University of Queensland and QIMR Berghofer