Carola Vinuesa is a NHMRC Australian Fellow, Head of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University (ANU) and joint Director of the Centre for Personalised Immunology, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence. Her work led to the identification of novel genes and critical roles for specialised subsets of immune cells (Follicular Helper T cells and Follicular Regulatory cells) involved in autoantibody-mediated autoimmune diseases. These are diseases in which the immune system mounts an attack on the body’s own healthy cells, tissues and/or organs causing inflammation and damage. Examples of these diseases include, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease.
Carola grew up in Spain and obtained a medical degree at the University Autonoma, Madrid. After under taking specialist clinical training in the UK she went on to complete her PhD in 2000 at the University of Birmingham. A Wellcome Trust International Travelling Fellowship paved the way for her to under take postdoctoral research in Canberra, Australia at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the ANU.
Her achievements have been recognized by numerous awards including the 2008 Science Minister Prize, the 2008 Biogen-Idec Prize, the 2009 Gottschalk Medal of the Australian Academy of Science, the 2012 Inaugural Elizabeth Blackburn NHMRC Fellowship and the 2015 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research.
Over the last few years she has worked closely with Professor Matthew Cook in establishing the APOSLE cohort of lupus patients and carrying out initial proof-of-principle genetic sequencing experiments on this cohort to establish the scientific and technological platform that forms the basis of the CPI.