Transplantation 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.


  • 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


  • Rachel Kuns, Research Assistant
  • Stuart Olver, Research Assistant
  • Kirsten Spann, Affiliate
  • Cameron Williams, Visiting Scientist
  • Alika Collinge, Honours Student

Internal Collaborators

External Collaborators


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


  • Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti, Monash University, Melbourne
  • Professor Michael McGuckin, University of Melbourne
  • A/Professor Ashraful Haque, Peter Doherty Institute and University of Melbourne


  • Professor Philip Hugenholtz, University of Queensland
  • Dr Kate Bowerman, University of Queensland
  • A/Professor Sumaira Hasnain, Mater Research Institute/Translational Research Institute
  • Professor Kirsten Spann, Queensland University of Technology
  • Dr Andrew Clouston, Envoi Pathology

We gratefully acknowledge support from the following funding bodies:

  • National Health & Medical Research Council
  • Queensland University of Technology


”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