Transplant Immunology

Stem cell transplantation is considered the “gold standard” procedure for the treatment of blood cancers (including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma) in both adults and children. Globally, over 9,000 patients per year undergo this high-risk, life-saving therapy. However, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) occurs in 50-70% of patients, of which 20% will develop severe GVHD that is untreatable. Unfortunately, additional complications such as infection and cancer relapse are common.

Research conducted by the Transplantation Immunology laboratory focuses on improving our understanding of the pathophysiology of complications following stem cell transplantation. Using unique preclinical models combined with innovative technologies, the group aims to define the immunological mechanisms that underpin these complex disease processes, with the view of translating the basic research findings into clinical practice.

CURRENT RESEARCH

  • cytokine responses within the gastrointestinal tract which dictate T cell fate and transplant outcome
  • interplay between cytokines, microbiota and metabolites which regulate acute intestinal graft-versus-host disease
  • mechanisms of MAIT cell function during homeostasis, acute graft-versus-host disease and infection
  • determinants of increased susceptibility to respiratory syncytial virus infection after allogeneic stem cell transplantation

Staff

  • Alika Collinge, Research Assistant
  • Harry Ling, Honours Student
  • Sophie Hamann, PhD Student
  • Stuart Olver, Research Assistant

Internal Collaborators

External Collaborators

International

  • Professor Geoff Hill, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle USA
  • Dr Motoko Koyama, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle USA

National

  • Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti, Monash University, Melbourne
  • Dr Iona Schuster, Monash University, Melbourne
  • A/Professor Ashraful Haque, Peter Doherty Institute and University of Melbourne

Local

  • Dr Seweryn Bialasiewicz, University of Queensland
  • Professor Philip Hugenholtz, University of Queensland
  • Dr Quan Nguyen, University of Queensland
  • A/Professor Esteban Marcellin, University of Queensland
  • Professor Benjamin Schulz, University of Queensland
  • Professor Ranjeny Thomas, University of Queensland/ Translational Research Institute
  • Professor Mark Morrison, University of Queensland/ Translational Research Institute
  • Dr Glen Kennedy, RBWH
  • Dr Andrew Clouston, Envoi Pathology
  • A/Professor Sumaira Hasnain, Mater Research Institute/Translational Research Institute
  • Professor Kirsten Spann, Queensland University of Technology

We gratefully acknowledge support from the following funding bodies:

  • National Health & Medical Research Council
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre
  • Queensland Health (Metro North Health)

VIDEO

”An integrated transcriptomic atlas: 3D UMAP visualization of alloreactive CD4 T cell migration into the gut over time following allogeneic stem cell transplantation.”  doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.137990

STUDENT PROJECTS

Understanding infectious respiratory complications after stem cell transplantation

Aspects of this project would be suitable for Honours, Masters, MPhil, MD and PhD students. Email the supervisor to discuss suitability. Background Respiratory viral infections are a major global public health problem. RSV-induced bronchiolitis and pneumonia are the leading cause of hospitalization in infants and young children worldwide, while in adult allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell […]

Find Out More

Targeting the gut and the microbiome to improve blood cancer treatments

Multiple projects available to suit Honours or PhD students Stem cell transplantation (SCT) remains the preferred treatment option for the majority of blood cancers providing alloimmunity to eradicate the disease and prevent relapse. However, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major complication that limits its effectiveness and utility, thus represents a clinical unmet need. Chemotherapy/radiation prior […]

Find Out More