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Head of Research: Experimental Immunology

“achieved international recognition as a viral immunologist with her research in the interactions between innate and adaptive immune responses.”

Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti

Biography

Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti (PhD) is a NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia and heads the Experimental Immunology Group at the Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Professor Degli-Esposti is also the Head of the Immunology Division and was appointed Head of Research at the Lions Eye Institute in 2009. She has achieved international recognition as a viral immunologist with her research in the interactions between innate and adaptive immune responses being widely cited.

Research Publications
  • Previous Positions

    • 2001 – 2005 Welcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Biomedical Science, Department of Microbiology, University of Western Australia
    • 2000 – 2005 Head of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Department of Microbiology, University of Western Australia
    • 2000 – 2001 Research Fellow, NHMRC, Head of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Department of Microbiology, University of Western Australia
    • 1998 – 1999 Senior Research Officer, NHMRC, Department of Microbiology, University of Western Australia
    • 1995 – 1998 Postdoctoral Fellow, Immunex, Seattle, Washington, USA. WA and MG Saw Medical Research Fellow (1996). Athelstan and Amy Saw Medical Research Fellow (1995)
    • 1993 – 1995 Senior Research Officer, NHMRC, Program Grant, Department of Clinical Immunology, Royal Perth Hospital

    Membership of Professional / National / Regional Bodies

    • Australasian Society of Immunology
    • Society for Natural Immunity
    • NHMRC Australia
     
  • Research Interests

    • The focus of her research has been to understand the regulation of complex immune responses, especially those involved in autoimmunity, infection and tumour control. Her laboratory continues to pursue an interest in understanding mechanisms of immune regulation using viral infection as a model. Her research has been instrumental in defining novel interactions between dendritic cells and natural killer (NK) cells and how these affect both innate and adaptive anti-viral responses. She also initiated a new program of ocular immunology focusing on infection in the eye. Her expertise has been critical in defining the immunological impact of novel therapies using viral vectors to deliver agents to the eye to ameliorate conditions such as macular degeneration. Some of these therapies are in phase I clinical trials at LEI.

    Other Professional Achievements

    • Keystone Meeting: Viral Immunity and Host Gene Influence, Keystone, United States, 2012, Invited Plenary Speaker
    • 8th International Conference on Innate Immunity, Greece, 2011, Invited Speaker
    • Lorne Infection and Immunity Conference, Lorne, Australia, 2011, Invited Speaker
    • Immunology of Diabetes Symposium, Australian Diabetes Society Annual Scientific Meeting, Perth, Australia, 2011, Invited Speaker
    • NK 2010 and 12th Annual Meeting of the Society for Natural Immunity, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 2010, Invited Plenary Speaker
    • Keystone Meeting: HIV Vaccines, Bannf, Canada, 2010, Invited Plenary Speaker
    • 40th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Society for Immunology, Perth, Australia, 2010, Invited Speaker
    • Infection and Immunity Workshop, Australasian Society for Immunology 39th Annual Scientific Meeting, Gold Coast, Australia, 2009, Invited Speaker
    • Australasian Society for Immunology, 39th Annual Scientific Meeting, Gold Coast, Australia, 2009, Invited Symposium Speaker
    • 5th Cellular Therapy Symposium, Nuremberg, Germany, 2009, Invited Plenary Speaker
    • Cellular and Cytokine Interactions in Health and Disease 2009, Tri-Society Annual Conference of ICS, ISICR and SLB, Lisbon, Portugal, 2009, Invited Symposium Speaker
    • NZ ASI 2009, Wellington, New Zealand, 2009, Invited Plenary Speaker
    • AVID 2008, 2nd Australasian Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics Development Meeting, Surfers Paradise, Australia, 2008, Invited Speaker
    • Keystone Symposium: NK and NKT Cell Biology, Keystone, United States, 2008, Invited Plenary Speaker
    • Keystone Symposium: Viral Immunity, Keystone, United States, 2008, Invited Plenary Speaker
    • 1st SIgN Dendritic Cell Workshop: Dendritic Cells as Key Regulators of Immunity, Singapore, 2008, Invited Plenary Speaker
     

Education

  • 1992 PhD – awarded with special commendation for outstanding distinction, Department of Pathology, University of Western Australia
  • 1987 Bachelor of Science with Honours (First Class) Honours in Pathology, University of Western Australia

Date Joined Lions Eye Institute

  • 2003
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