Dr Seth Masters

Dr Seth Masters

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Seth Masters

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Dr
Seth
Masters

BSc (Hons) Melbourne PhD Melbourne

Laboratory Head

Division:

Our laboratory studies inflammation generated by the innate immune system. This can happen in many different contexts, including during infection, when cells die, or when genetic mutations activate innate immune pathways. Inflammation contributes to the development of many chronic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and type 2 diabetes.

Previously we have made discoveries relevant to all of these areas. We maintain close links to industry and the clinic to make sure our discoveries can continue to have a direct effect on human health in the future.

Research interest

A particular focus for our laboratory is a family of innate immune receptors known as Nod-like receptors (NLRs). Many of these have the capacity to form intracellular protein complexes called inflammasomes. These biological structures process the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1b and IL-18 into their mature forms. Our research has identified substances that activate the inflammasome, and mechanisms by which this inflammation causes disease.

Activation of the inflammasome also triggers an inflammatory form of cell death known as pyroptosis. This programmed form of cell death is a way by which an infected cell can prevent the spread of a micro-organism, but it can also contribute to inflammatory pathology during disease. We are researching the triggers and effectors for this new form of cell death.

This is a particularly exciting time to be working on inflammation because so many new drugs are coming to the clinic. We have the diverse research tools to determine where and why these new drugs can provide benefit.

Interview with Dr Seth Masters

ABC Radio interview: why the body reacts the way it does when under stress from infection