Nicholas graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science) in 2019. Shortly after, he joined the Human Malaria Immunology Lab at QIMR Berghofer and completed an Honours research project investigating the novel functions of gamma-delta T cells in malarial antibody development. Nicholas is currently in the first year of his PhD through Griffith University and has continued his research using samples collected from the induced blood stage malaria (IBSM) model. Nicholas is supervised by Human Malaria Immunolgy Lab head Dr. Michelle Boyle and Griffith University Supervisor Prof. J Alejandro Lopez.
The Human Malaria Immunology Lab is focused on identifying cellular mechanisms that drive the induction of protective humoral responses to human infection. The group primarily focuses on Plasmodium parasite infection, the causative parasite of malaria, using a human cohort of experimental and natural infection to better understand immune development. Nicholas’ research focuses on the bridging of the innate and adaptive response in Plasmodium infection, primarily on the contribution of the gamma-delta T cells to a protective immune response. Pro-inflammatory gamma-delta T cells control parasite burden in innate infection, but new work is shedding light into their diverse functions in high exposure clinical settings. Nicholas aims to characterise these novel cell functions to improve vaccine efficacy in malaria endemic populations.
Some of the key research challenges: