2013-current: Team Head, Cancer Immunoregulation and Immunotherapy laboratory, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia.
2010-2013: Senior Research Officer, Cellular Immunity Laboratory, Cancer Immunology Program, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Victoria, Australia.
2006-2010: Research Officer, Cellular Immunity Laboratory, Cancer Immunology Program, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Victoria, Australia.
CURRENT AREA OF RESEARCH
My laboratory investigates how tumour-induced immunosuppression impedes the effective treatment of established cancer. I am interested in investigating the immunosuppressive role of regulatory T cells (Tregs), T cell anergy (checkpoint blockade), and the cytokine IL-23 and its associated cytokine family in the local tumour microenvironment using experimental and de novo models of cancer.
In addition, I am determining the optimal scheduling of immunotherapy to maximise its anti-tumour efficacy and developing pre-clinical mouse models to assess the safety of different combination immunotherapies, and investigating how tumour-induced immune suppression controls the three phases of cancer immunoediting.
Achieving a better understanding of these immunosuppressive pathways, their relativity to one another and the diversity of effector pathways they control will enable the rational improvement of treatments for patients with established cancer.
I have 13 years of experience in the field of tumour immunology. Overall, published 55 papers and have 2,208 career citations over 13 years (25 papers published, 25 times or more) where I am first/last author on 25/55 papers.
During my PhD, I studied adoptive transfer of genetically engineered T/NK cells that recognise cancer and published 12 papers including a review in Nature Reviews Immunology (116 cites).
After my PhD, I spent two years determining the mechanism of action and activity of anti-CD1d antibodies and NKT cells in combination therapies which resulted in three first author papers [Cancer Res (2007), JI x2 (2009)]. As an indication of the quality of my research over this period, I was awarded a one-year Cancer Council Victoria Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2006, followed by the very competitive NH&MRC Early Career Fellowship in 2008.
Over the last seven years, I have developed my area of expertise in the field of tumour-induced immune suppression and was awarded an NH&MRC Career Development Fellowship in 2012. I was recruited in 2013 to QIMR-Berghofer to head the Cancer Immunoregulation and Immunotherapy Laboratory.
Demonstrated the role of IL-23 in tumour initiation, growth and metastases and in maintaining tumours in a state of immune-mediated tumour dormancy (PNAS 2010, Cancer Res 2012).
Demonstrated in experimental and de novo mouse models of cancers that neutralization of IL-23 in combination with different immunostimulatory agents or targeted therapies have improved anti-tumour efficay (Cancer Res 2011, 2014).
I published the first paper to show the importance of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in controlling the development and growth of de novo tumorigenesis (Cancer Res, 2010).
2002-current: Australasian Society of Immunology (ASI).
2012-2015: NH&MRC Career Development Fellowship (CDF I).
2010: Keystone Symposia travel award.
2009: Awarded travel scholarship to attend 5th International Symposium on CD1d/NKT cells, Japan.
2008: Cass Foundation Early Career Researcher travel award.
2008-2011: NH&MRC Early Career Fellowship.
2007: Australasian Society of Immunology International Postdoctoral Travel award.
2007: Selected to attend the 2nd RCAI International Summer Program (1 out of 40 international participants). In addition, 1 of 10 participants selected to spend a further week as an intern in the RIKEN research laboratories.
2007: Young investigator award, 8th Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Symposia, Zurich, Switzerland.
2006: Cancer Council of Victoria (CCV) Postdoctoral Cancer Research Fellowship.
2005: Australasian Society of Immunology IgV Scholarship.
2005: Aegean Conference Travel award to attend Crossroads between Innate and Adaptive Immunity Conference, Rhodes, Greece.
2005: Jean Gilmore Bursary by the Australian Federation of University Women – South Australian INC Trust Fund (Ranked top 2% out of 142 nation-wide applicants) to attend Crossroads between Innate and Adaptive Immunity Conference, Rhodes, Greece.
2005: Australasian Society of Immunology International Postgraduate Travel award.
2003: Australasian Society of Immunology Travel Bursary.
2003: Australasian Society of Immunology best student poster prize.
2002: University of Melbourne International Research Scholarship (MIRS) and Fee Remission scholarship (MIFRS).
2001: University of Melbourne Undergraduate Coursework Scholarship (Honours).
2006: Doctor of Philosophy, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, University of Melbourne.
2001: Bachelor of Science (Honours). University of Melbourne.