Infection and immunological disorders research news

Theme leader, Tania Sorrell

Professor Tania Sorrell

Tania Sorrell is Professor of Clinical Infectious Diseases and Director of the Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, the University of Sydney at Westmead. She was appointed Professor of Clinical Infectious Diseases at the University of Sydney in 1988.

Professor Sorrell pioneered the establishment of infectious diseases as a discipline of internal medicine in Australia and has written extensively on the pathogenesis, epidemiology and treatment of fungal infections. She is a consultant in, and Head of, Infectious Diseases at Westmead Hospital.

Professor Sorrell's research interests include the pathogenesis and epidemiology of cryptococcal infections, new antifungal drug discovery and development of novel diagnostics based on magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Since last year, Professor Sorrell has been leading the establishment of the new Sydney Institute of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, a new cross disciplinary initiative to improve the national ability to detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases.

Viral medicine and anti-viral treatment

Professor Tony Cunningham is Director of Westmead Millenium Institute and of the Centre for Virus Research. He is a leader in the field of viral medicine, particularly HIV and herpes viruses. The Centre for Virus Research uses the latest technologies of genomics, molecular and cell biology, and protein chemistry to investigate HIV and herpes simplex viruses.

Malaria and vascular diseases

Professor Georges Grau has held the Chair of Vascular Immunology at the University of Sydney since 2006. He joined the School after 26 years of research in Europe. His field is pathophysiology and immunopathology with particular emphasis on cytokines and microvascular endothelium. Professor Grau has wide-ranging experience and skills in the investigation of mechanisms of inflammation. Emerging technologies have been applied to the fine analysis of the complex interactions of cells and molecules that are responsible for tissular malfunction. He also has set up multi-compartment cell culture systems to model basic pathophysiological processes relevant to diseases such as cerebral malaria, septic shock, and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Professor Grau's team has demonstrated that one of the potentially major effector mechanisms of TNF and other cytokines is the release of microparticles. These membrane elements might be crucial in immunopathology, and not only in cerebral malaria. Current projects of the Vascular Immunology Unit will deal with pathophysiological events at the level of brain endothelium.