Deputy director and the leader of the Infectious Disease Research Program at Institute of Health Biomedical Innovation (IHBI)
Queensland University of Technology
Development of vaccines to prevent chlamydial infections Traditional vaccine approaches have been unsuccessful in preventing chlamydial infections. We have used novel DNA vaccination and bioinformatics approaches to identify protective chlamydial antigens that are conserved across several chlamydial species. Using combinations of these antigens we can reduce both the duration and magnitude of infection and reduce infection-associated inflammation that is the cause of infertility in animal models of chlamydial infection. Development of needle-free immunisation methods Novel approaches to vaccination including topical application to skin (transcutaneous immunisation), intranasal immunisation using drops or sprays and sublingual immunisation where vaccines are applied to the buccal epithelium are being investigated as an alternative to the traditional needle-based vaccines. In animal models these approaches can protect against Chlamydia and Helicobacter infections. Affect of chronic chlamydial infections on inflammation and immunity Chlamydia not only infects epithelial cells but can also infect immune cells such as dendritic cells and macrophages. Infection of these immune cells alters their function in a way that not only allows the Chlamydia to persist in the host but also increases the pro-inflammatory immune responses that cause conditions such as asthma.