Antiviral innate immunity and viral genomics

We describe the host response to viral infection, and determine the host genes responsible for effective control of viral replication and spread.

We work with a collection of viruses, including zika, dengue, west nile and herpes virus, to characterise the host response to these infections with a future goal of tailoring cutting edge antiviral therapeutics by harnessing the hosts own immune response.

We also describe and characterise novel viral pathogens of animals. We work with a number of industry partners and veterinarians to characterise and describe novel viral infections of many animal species including birds, crocodiles and marsupials.

Current projects

  • The role of viperin in innate immune control of viral infection (In collaboration with Adelaide University)
  • The role of organelles in signalling events during a host anti-viral response (In collaboration with Dr Donna Whelan and funded by the NHMRC)
  • Discovery of novel host factors that amplify the cellular anti-viral response
  • Harnessing the deer virome to determine biosecurity risk of viral pathogens in Australian livestock (Funded by the Centre for Invasive species solutions and in collaboration with Dr Teresa Carvalho and the Arthur Rylah Institute)
  • Identification of differentially expressed innate immune genes between New Zealand and Australian abalone during control of abalone herpesvirus-1 (In collaboration with The Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness and Jade Tiger Abalone Farms)
  • Novel vaccine platforms for control of animal viral infections (In collaboration with Professor Travis Beddoe)

Team members

Research leader: Associate Professor Karla Helbig

Postdoctoral researchers: Ebony Monson

Research Assistants: Monique Smith

PhD Students: Stephanie Lynch, Jose Huaman, Jay Laws

Masters Students: Jacinta Agius