Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases
Research at the Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases
Scientists at the Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases (CiiiD) research the regulation of the innate immune response. This early immune response determines how the body responds to infection or the presence of cancer cells— providing immediate protection and sculpting the ensuing adaptive (sustained) immune responses. It initiates the inflammatory response and can modulate the development of inflammatory diseases. Our aim is to understand the molecular pathways that regulate these processes as well as their normal physiological roles. In this way, CiiiD scientists aim to develop new approaches to preventing, diagnosing and treating infections such as influenza, herpes and HIV, inflammatory diseases such as gastritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancers of the stomach, lung and breast.
A key focus for scientists in CiiiD is in the area of cytokine signalling. Cytokines such as interferons and interleukins are important messenger molecules produced by cells after a stimulus. Cells receive the cytokine message through receptors which send a signal inside the cell to perform a particular function (e.g. migrate, kill pathogens, die or multiply). Cytokines are produced when a cell senses ‘danger’ (such as a pathogen, inflammatory stimulus, dying cells or cancer cells) through a family of cellular pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that include Toll-like receptors (TLR), RIG-like Receptors (RLRs) and NOD-like receptors (NLRs). The work of our centre is directed to understanding the steps and connections between these molecules in diseases of interest. (image: macrophage bacteria)
Staff and students working in CiiiD have collective multidisciplinary expertise in molecular biology, signal transduction, protein interactions, cell biology, immunology, bacteriology, infectious disease, functional genomics and bioinformatics, as well as clinical research and transgenic techniques for generating and characterising gene knockout and transgenic mouse preclinical models of human disease. CiiiD is one of the largest centres for innate immunity in Australia, bringing in nearly $3M in grant funding per annum and publishing nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications in the past three years, including works in prestigious journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Immunology, Nature Medicine and Cancer Cell.
Collaborative projects are undertaken with other Hudson Institute centres in cancer, reproductive health and mitochondrial genetics; and with various departments in Monash University and Monash Health. CiiiD scientists are involved in a number of national and international scientific networks and founded the Monash Infection and Immunity consortium, the Victorian Infection and Immunity Network (VIIN); national initiatives such as the Australian TLR research network (TLROZ); and international collaborations such as MONMAN (Monash and Manitoba Universities) and the International Innate Immunity Consortium.