About Dr Stefan Oehlers

My laboratory uses the zebrafish model organism to understand how the behaviour of blood vessels (including growth (angiogenesis) and leakiness (vascular permeability)) affects the function of the immune system. This work will lead to the novel treatments for inflammatory diseases including atherosclerosis, tuberculosis, and meningitis.

My laboratory has expertise in zebrafish models of inflammation. We primarily utilise live imaging of zebrafish embryos to track and assess immune responses. I have researched tuberculosis, bacterial infections, fungal meningitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and atherosclerosis using the zebrafish model.

Established two zebrafish models of inflammatory bowel disease and carried out drug repurposing screens as a PhD student (FEBS Richard Perham Prize). Postdoc supported by NHMRC CJ Martin produced new research directions studying the hijacking of blood vessels by TB infection (Nature 2015) and cryptococcal meningitis (mBio 2015). Independent laboratory from mid-2016 funded by NHMRC New Investigator project gran, 2017 2nd place in Centenary Institute Medical Innovation Awards, University of Sydney Fellowship and NSW Health EMCR Fellowship holder in 2018.

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Selected publications

• Oehlers SH, Cronan MR, Scott NR, Thomas MI, Okuda KS, Walton EM, Beerman RW, Crosier PS, Tobin DM. Interception of host angiogenic signalling limits mycobacterial growth. Nature. 2015 Jan 29;517(7536):612-5. doi: 10.1038/nature13967. 
• Oehlers SH, Flores MV, Hall CJ, Wang L, Ko DC, Crosier KE, Crosier PS. A whole animal chemical screen approach to identify modifiers of intestinal neutrophilic inflammation. FEBS J. 2017 Feb;284(3):402-413. doi: 10.1111/febs.13976.
• Tenor JL, Oehlers SH, Yang JL, Tobin DM, Perfect JR. Live Imaging of Host-Parasite Interactions in a Zebrafish Infection Model Reveals Cryptococcal Determinants of Virulence and Central Nervous System Invasion. MBio. 2015 Sep 29;6(5):e01425-15. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01425-15.
• Oehlers SH, Cronan MR, Beerman RW, Johnson MG, Huang J, Kontos CD, Stout JE, Tobin DM. Infection-Induced Vascular Permeability Aids Mycobacterial Growth. J Infect Dis. 2017 Mar 1;215(5):813-817. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiw355.
• Johansen MD, Hortle E, Kasparian JA, Romero A, Novoa B, Figueras A, Britton WJ, de Silva K, Purdie AC, Oehlers SH. Analysis of mycobacterial infection-induced changes to host lipid metabolism in a zebrafish infection model reveals a conserved role for LDLR in infection susceptibility. Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2018 Dec;83:238-242. doi: 10.1016/j.fsi.2018.09.037.
• Oehlers SH, Flores MV, Hall CJ, Crosier KE, Crosier PS. Retinoic acid suppresses intestinal mucus production and exacerbates experimental enterocolitis. Dis Model Mech. 2012 Jul;5(4):457-67. doi: 10.1242/dmm.009365.
• Oehlers SH, Flores MV, Hall CJ, Swift S, Crosier KE, Crosier PS. The inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) susceptibility genes NOD1 and NOD2 have conserved anti-bacterial roles in zebrafish. Dis Model Mech. 2011 Nov;4(6):832-41. doi: 10.1242/dmm.006122. 
• Oehlers SH, Flores MV, Okuda KS, Hall CJ, Crosier KE, Crosier PS. A chemical enterocolitis model in zebrafish larvae that is dependent on microbiota and responsive to pharmacological agents. Dev Dyn. 2011 Jan;240(1):288-98. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22519. 
• Johansen MD, Kasparian JA, Hortle E, Britton WJ, Purdie AC, Oehlers SH. Mycobacterium marinum infection drives foam cell differentiation in zebrafish infection models. Dev Comp Immunol. 2018 Nov;88:169-172. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2018.07.022.