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Characterising ‘Bona-Fide’ Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Responses in Initial HIV Infection
Primary supervisor: Najla Nasr
Introduction More than 30 years after its discovery, human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV) still propagates worldwide and as of 2016, 36.7 million individuals are living with HIV. Although the advent of antiretroviral therapy has meant HIV can
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Periodontitis as a potential trigger of oxidative stress in the brain: A potential link between inflammation and depressive symptoms in older adults
Primary supervisor: Joerg Eberhard
Aim The proposed project is based on the recent work by Duffy et al. (2015) who demonstrated an association between Glutathione concentration in the anterior cingulate cortex and depressive symptoms in a group of older adults ‘at
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Comparison, validation and characterisation of primary human cutaneous squamous call carcinoma cells (cSCC) isolated and cultured using different techniques
Primary supervisor: Pablo Fernandez Penas
cSCC is a common skin cancer with malignant potential, the highest incidence of which occurs in Australia. Patients experience high morbidity levels and those with malignant disease have a poor outcome, highlighting the need for early detection and
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Investigating The Role of Mononuclear Phagocytes in Sexual Transmission of HIV
Primary supervisor: Andrew Harman
Research Background: Mononuclear phagocytes (MNP) present in the anogenital tracts are one of the first cells to encounter invading pathogens during sexual intercourse which they detect via C-type lectin receptors (CLR) expressed on their
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The DNA replication stress response
Primary supervisor: Anthony Cesare
This project will focus on how cells respond to difficulties during DNA replication (i.e. DNA replication stress) and the mechanism of cell death DNA replication stress becomes lethal. Genome instability is a hallmark of nearly all solid
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Effects of Strigolactones on liver cancer: in vitro studies
Primary supervisor: Liang Qiao
Liver cancer is the 5th most common cancer worldwide and in Australia it is the fastest growing cancer in terms of incidence and mortality. Liver cancer has a dismal prognosis which is primarily due to a lack of effective therapies, caused by a
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Control of cell differentiation during mouse embryogenesis and stem cell development
Primary supervisor: Patrick Tam
The knowledge of how to maintain, expand and differentiate stem cells is essential for the realisation of clinical cell-based therapy for the replacement and repair of diseased tissues.  Cells of the early embryo are capable of generating
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Head Development: Intersection of transcriptional and signalling activities
Primary supervisor: Patrick Tam
In humans, lethal malformation complexes of the head are associated with varying degrees of anatomical defects of the brain, skull and face structures. Congenital malformations of the brain ranging from reduction in size (microcephaly), abnormal
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Identifying the misuse of nucleotide sequence reagents within biomedical research publications
Primary supervisor: Jennifer Byrne
Incorrect published research results waste human and financial resources directed towards scientific research, slow research translation, and reduce broader trust in science and use of the scientific method. Threats to the integrity of peer
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Delineating the role of turnover rates and T cell activation in maintaining the latent HIV reservoir during effective antiretroviral therapy
Primary supervisor: Sarah Palmer
Over 36 million people are estimated to currently be infected with HIV-1, which is a significant public health and economic burden to the global community. Current therapies are life-long, expensive, and not universally available. No cure or
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Telomere deprotection and cancer
Primary supervisor: Anthony Cesare
Telomeres are the structures at human chromosome ends that regulate cellular aging and tumour suppression. This project will explore how telomeres cooperate with the DNA damage response to control these phenomena. Telomeres are the protective
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Interactions between Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
Primary supervisor: Mark Douglas
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the leading cause of chronic hepatitis globally, but is also an oncogenic virus, with recent estimates that 53% of all  cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the world are HBV-induced. Co-infection or
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How do herpes simplex viruses interact with dendritic cells in human skin: clues for vaccine development
Primary supervisor: Anthony Cunningham
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) can cause cold sores, genital herpes, keratitis, encephalitis and neonatal herpes, as well as increasing the risk of acquiring HIV by at least 3-fold. 70-80% of the Australian population is infected with HSV-1 and 12%
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Influenza Vaccination: Fever, antipyretics and immunogenicity
Primary supervisor: Robert Booy
Professor Robert Booy is head of Clinical Research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.  He is involved in research on vaccine preventable diseases, be they in infants, children, adults or the elderly. His
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Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine: long term protection against infection and cancer
Primary supervisor: Robert Booy
Australia was the first country to introduce the human papilloma vaccine (HPV) and it has proven very successful in preventing early stages of cervical cancer and other long term complications of HPV.  There are two special
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ROLE OF THE CYTOSKELETON ON THE EXIT OF HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS FROM SENSORY NERVES
Primary supervisor: Monica Miranda Saksena
BACKGROUND Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a contagious human pathogen prevalent in 40 –80% of the human population. HSV-1 initially infects the skin and/or mucosal membranes where its spreads to nerve cells of the peripheral
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How does the promising vaccine adjuvant AS01 work in humans?
Primary supervisor: Kerrie Sandgren
Research Background Part of our lab’s research is focused on improving vaccines. A new, recently trialled vaccine for shingles has proven to be highly efficacious, even in older adults (>70 y.o.). We are intrigued to know whether the
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Understanding protein dephosphorylation in the DNA damage response
Primary supervisor: Hilda Pickett
By screening breast cancer samples, we have identified a novel protein phosphatase that regulates DNA repair pathway engagement at telomeres. We aim to investigate the role of this protein in the DNA damage response specifically at telomeres,
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Exploiting skin dendritic cells in vaccination
Primary supervisor: Kerrie Sandgren
Research Background Part of our lab’s research is focused on improving vaccines. Most vaccines today are injected into the muscle, however, in the future we may receive our vaccines in the skin because it has a dense network of immune
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Quantifying cell-cell and cell-microenvironment interactions and their effect on cell fate inheritance
Primary supervisor: James Cornwell
Cells are highly complex and dynamic biological systems. A cell's fate and its behaviour is controlled by interactions between the extrinsic stimuli it receives and the cell's internal molecular state (i.e. its gene expression signature,
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The Role of Lambda-Interferons in Immune Cell Migration to Sites of Inflammation
Primary supervisor: Golo Ahlenstiel
Interferon lambdas (IFNLs 1, 2 and 3) are a family of cytokines that are expressed in response to bacterial and viral infection. Unlike other interferons, IFNLs are expressed in specific tissues like the liver, lungs and gastrointestinal tract,
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Biochemistry and cell biology of the cancer-associated enzyme telomerase.
Primary supervisor: Tracy Bryan
Telomerase is the enzyme responsible for lengthening the ends of chromosomes (telomeres), thereby allowing most cancer cells to divide indefinitely.  We are determining the mechanisms of telomerase function using biochemical and cell-based
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Gene therapy for genetic and acquired diseases of the liver and haematopoietic system.
Primary supervisor: Ian Alexander
The liver and haematopoietic system are "holy grail" targets for gene therapy. Mastery of the challenges of gene transfer and genome editing in these organ systems opens the prospect of correcting a host of clinically troubling disease
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Using telomere length analysis to understand human disease
Primary supervisor: Hilda Pickett
Telomeres are specialised nucleoprotein structures at the ends of chromosomes, consisting of repetitive DNA (TTAGGG in humans), as well as associated proteins and RNA. Telomeres provide a protective role to the chromosome and are necessary for
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Gene function and RNA processing in gut endoderm development
Primary supervisor: Nicolas Fossat
This project addresses a fundamental issue of embryonic development at the start of life: the molecular activity controlling the formation of major body parts of the embryo. The epithelium of the primitive gut is formed from definitive endoderm
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