About the lab

Our work focuses on understanding how the tuberculosis (TB) bacteria, SARS-CoV-2 and HIV viruses interact within immune cells to cause disease.

The majority of people who get infected with the TB bacteria do not get sick. Yet, also having HIV-1 infection, diabetes or even vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of developing TB disease, once infected. We are now also asking whether SARS-CoV-2 co-infection can lead to a similar increased TB risk. Our research focuses on understanding how these ‘risk factors’ change the immune cells’ response during infection. We are particularly interested in the different way these pathogens cause infected cells to die and how this destroys the lung and other sites of infection, allowing the bacteria to spread and cause disease.

Given that tuberculosis is transmitted by coughing, following damage to the lung, the only way to eradicate TB is by stopping people developing disease once infected. We are therefore also identifying new markers for early diagnosis of infection, with the aim to develop drugs targeting the immune defects caused by these ‘risk factors’ which can be used to treat infected people to prevent them from getting sick.

Lab research projects

Lab team

Enquiries from clinicians interested in entering medical research are encouraged.

My team at WEHI investigates cellular and molecular mechanisms of TB pathogenesis, by reverse translating our findings from clinical research conducted by my team at the Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa, at University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa.

We collaborate at WEHI with Professor Seth Masters, Associate Professor James Vince, and Dr Rebecca Feltham on infection models of cell death, Professor Melanie Bahlo and Associate Professor Matt Ritchie for bioinformatic analyses, and work closely with the Centre for Dynamic Imaging, Genomics and Proteomic Facility teams.

We have international collaborators to University College London, Imperial College London, Boston University, Rutgers University, Queen Mary’s University of London, Stellenbosch University and Institute Pasteur Madagascar.

7 members
Dylan Antolasic
Honours Student
Dr Nash Peton
Research Assistant
PhD Student
Evelyn Huang
Visiting PhD Student
Senior Research Officer
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