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 (Funded by the NHMRC and in collaboration with Adelaide University)
  • The role of organelles in signalling events during a host anti-viral response
  • Discovery of novel host factors that amplify the cellular anti-viral response
  • Controlling HBV replication via augmentation of the host innate immune response (ACH2 funded)
  • Control of poxvirus infection in the saltwater crocodile (Funded by the CRC for developing the North and in collaboration with Travis Beddoe, La Trobe)
  • 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 Teresa Carvalho)
  • Identification of differentially expressed innate immune genes between New Zealand and Australian abalone during control of abalone herpesvirus-1 (Funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and in collaboration with AAHL)

Team members

Research leader: Dr Karla Helbig

Postdoctoral researchers: Dr Subir Sarker

Research Assistants: Monique Smith

PhD Students: Mithun Das, Ebony Monson, Keaon Crosse, Stephanie Lynch, Jose Huaman