Respiratory Immunology

The Respiratory Immunology Laboratory focuses on identifying pathogenic pathways that underpin the onset, progression, and exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. To achieve this, high-fidelity preclinical models of disease are developed that recapitulate key gene-environment interactions and allow for elucidation of cellular and molecular mechanisms. Where possible, scientific findings are translated with ex vivo model systems using primary human cells and by analysing clinical material.


  • insights into the influence of maternal diet on the severity of infant RSV bronchiolitis
  • regulation of HMGB1 and IL-33 release
  • microbiota and immune cell development in early life
  • eicosanoids and viral exacerbations of COPD
  • Asthma
  • Viral Bronchiolitis
  • Pneumonia
  • COPD


  • Alec Bissell, Research Assistant
  • Dr Bodie Curren, Research Assistant
  • Daniel Howard, Student
  • Dr Herlina Handoko, Senior Research Officer
  • Dr Ismail Sebina, Research Officer
  • Muhammed Rahman, Student 
  • Ridwan Rashid, Student
  • Samadhi Ellepola, Student 
  • Sylvia Ngo, Scientific Technical Officer
  • Tufael Ahmed, Student 

External Collaborators

  • Dr Paul Dennis, The University of Queensland
  • Dr Anne Chang, Menzies Institute
  • Dr Michael Binks, Menzies Institute
  • Dr Paraic O’Cuiv, The University of Queensland
  • Dr Sumaira Hasnain, Mater UQ
  • Dr Lucy Burr, Mater UQ
  • Dr Kirsten Spann, QUT
  • Dr Catherine
  • Dr Henry McSorley, The University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Mark Everard, University of Western Australia
  • The National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Nestlé


Cell death pathways and the induction of type-2 inflammation

It is now recognised that there are several different types of cells death. Importantly, the mode of cell death affects the ensuing immune response. We have recognised an important role for necroptosis in the induction of type-2 inflammation and immunity, which is the predominant module of immunity that underpins allergic diseases such as asthma. In […]

Find Out More

Eicosanoids and viral exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Prostaglandin D2 is a lipid mediator generated from the metabolism of arachidonic acid. We recently discovered (Werder et al, Science Translational Medicine) that PGD2 can enhance or suppress the production of type III IFN, a potent antiviral cytokine. This contrasting effect is dependent on the receptor subtype that is activated. In both COPD and asthma, […]

Find Out More

Microbiome and neonatal immune development in early life

The microbiome is known to affect immune development. For example, germ-free mice have fewer Peyer’s patches in the gut wall, suggesting that the gut microbiome regulates the formation of this lymphoid tissue. Other studies have shown that germ-free mice have fewer natural killer T cells. Both the microbiome and the immune system develop postnatally (predominantly […]

Find Out More

Insights into the influence of maternal diet on the severity of infant viral bronchiolitis

Viral bronchiolitis is an infection of the small airways (bronchioles) characterised by the infiltration of neutrophils, oedema, and shedding on the epithelial cells that line the airway. A recent population study found that the offspring of mothers who ate a poor diet in the third trimester were predisposed to severe viral bronchiolitis. We have modelled […]

Find Out More