Immunity and host-pathogen interactions


We study the physical and immunological interactions of viruses, bacteria and parasites with their human and animal hosts.

The immunity and host pathogens theme studies the interaction of viruses, bacteria and parasites with their human and animal hosts, in conjunction to studying the immune responses associated with infection.

Our overarching aims are to gain a better understanding of how microorganisms interact with their hosts and to develop the next generation of antimicrobial molecules to fight infection of current, emerging and re-emerging infections.

Members have expertise in the growth and culture of numerous bacteria, viruses and parasites and their use in in vitro and in vivo model systems; we have expertise in:

  • cellular and molecular biology
  • gene knockout models
  • flow cytometry
  • gene transfection/conjugation/transduction systems
  • microscopical and live time imaging
  • Next Generation Sequencing
  • Bioinformatics.

Current projects include the spread of antimicrobial resistance by horizontal gene transfer, the role of bacterial vesicles in infection and pathogenesis, innate immune control of viral infections in humans and animals and the role of host and microbial kinases in parasitic infections.

Research groups

Antiviral innate immunity and viral genomics

Group leader: Associate Professor Karla Helbig
Our goal is to tailor cutting edge antiviral therapeutics by harnessing the hosts own immune response.

Environmental microbial genetics

Group leader: Associate Professor Steve Petrovski
Our laboratory research interests include three main areas within microbial genetics.

Bacterial Membrane Vesicles and Host-Pathogen Interactions

Group leader: Associate Professor Maria Kaparakis Liaskos
We are focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions with particular focus on Helicobacter pylori and bacterial membrane vesicles.

Microbial communities in the environment

Group leader: Professor Ashley Franks
We focus on the study of the structure and function of microbial communities in the environment.

Molecular parasitology

Group leader: Dr. Teresa Carvalho
We identify new molecules that prevent parasite development and design novel anti-parasitic drug treatments.