Chief Investigators

Professor Carola Vinuesa MD (MBBS) PhD FAA

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.

Professor Matthew Cook MBBS PhD FRAcP FRCPA FFSc (RCPA)

Matthew Cook is Professor of Medicine at Australian National Univeristy (ANU), Director of Immunology at Canberra Hospital and joint Director of the Centre for Personalised Immunology, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence. He is a clinician-scientist with over 20 years of experience in researching the mechanisms of human autoimmune disease.

Matt has been chief investigator on numerous NHMRC project grants and three NHMRC program grants. He has also been elected as a foundation fellow of the RCPA Faculty of Science.

He is currently using genome sequencing and bioinformatics tools to identify novel (previously unknown) genes that contribute to autoimmune disease or affect the normal course of treatment.

 


Professor David Fulcher

The John Curtin School of Medical Research | The Australian National University | Australia

David is a long-time collaborator with Professor Vinuesa and Professor Cook, including co-investigator on the NHMRC-funded ANZADA and APOSLE projects. He has published 53 papers (2,386 citations). He has particular expertise in the cellular phenotyping of patients with immune mediated disease, recognised by regular invitations to present on this topic at major meetings. He is also a leader in the Immunopathology professional community, and has considerable experience in pathology training, curriculum development, and policy. His professional standing will be important for development of specialist training modules in personalised immunology.


Professor Stephen Alexander

Westmead Hospital | The University of Sydney | Australia

Stephen is a long-term collaborator with Professor Vineusa, Professor Cook and Professor Kitching, and is a paediatric nephrologist with expertise in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases of the kidney in children. He counts with 96 publications and h-index of 29 and has made significant contributions to understanding cellular regulation of renal inflammation. Highlights include identifying the role for TFH and regulatory CD8 T cells in membranous nephritis. He is a clinical leader in the paediatric and transplantation professional community and this experience will help us to develop research capacity that extends beyond the immediate field of immunology. His standing in the field is reflected by international invitations to speak and representation on the councils of both ANZSN and TSANZ.


Professor Richard Kitching

Monash University | Australia

Richard is a nephrologist with an outstanding track record of discovery of the mechanisms of systemic vasculitis and ANCA-associated renal disease. His group is the most published in experimental vasculitis in the past 5 years, and his work has been cited > 1350 times in the last 5 years, with publications in highly influential journals including PNAS USANature MedJ Clin InvestBlood and N Engl J Med.


Dr Anselm Enders

The John Curtin School of Medical Research | The Australian National University | Australia

Anselm is a paediatric immunologist with expert knowledge of clinical manifestations and presentation of immune deficiencies in childhood. He has an excellent track record of discovery of mechanisms of primary immune deficiency, including description of the importance of Bim in the negative selection of B cells (JEM 2003) and the first description of a SCID phenotype in humans with Ligase IV deficiency (J Immunol 2006). As an independent researcher, he discovered two novel pathways that control B cell development (Nature Immunol 2011; JEM 2013, JACI 2013).


Dr Rafael Casellas

NIH/NIAIDS | United States of America

Rafael is Chief of the Genomics and Immunity laboratory at the NIAMS/NIH, where, as part of his “NIH Mouse Regulome Project” he has led and implemented large-scale TALEN and now CRISPR/Cas9 DNA editing technologies in both human/mouse cell lines and mouse zygotes as an NIH service. He has made seminal contributions (Cell x 6, Cell Reports x 2, Science x 4, Nature x 4, Nat Immunol x3, Immunity x 2 and J. Exp. Med x 6), which have been cited over 2,500 times (mean of 55 citations each). He has been the recipient of prestigious awards from the NIH, NCI, NSF and Henry Kunkel Society and has delivered > 80 presentations. He delivers four NIH Biotechnology courses annually that train students in the latest DNA editing tools and technologies.


Dr Klaus Schwarz

University of Ulm | Germany

Klaus is a Paediatrician and Immunologist with 25 years of experience and expertise in identification of genetic defects leading to SCID and related immunodeficiencies. Highlights include discoveries that RAG1 or RAG2 deficiency in humans leads to SCID (Science, 1996, 264 citations), DNA Ligase IV is essential for human precursor lymphocytes (Mol Cell 1998, 207 citations), and characterization of the enzymatic activity of ARTEMIS (Cell, 2002, 537 citations). More recently his group discovered that mutations in adenylate kinase 2 underlie reticular dysgenesis, the most severe form of primary immunodeficiency (Nature Gen 2009, 54 citations).


Mr Matthew Field

The John Curtin School of Medical Research | The Australian National University | Australia

Dr Dan Andrews

The John Curtin School of Medical Research | The Australian National University | Australia

Matthew and Dan are bioinformaticians who work at the interface of genomics and computing and have expertise in high-throughput bioinformatics pipelines, contributing to publications in Nat Gen. In addition, they have developed and delivered Australian bioinformatics workshops with Bioplatforms Australia.