Innate immunity, infection and inflammation

 Instead of using antibiotics, which bacteria can rapidly evolve resistance to, our goal is to defeat specific pathogens by using the bodies own defence system.


Innate immunity lies at the heart of human disease 

The innate immune system is our body’s first line of defence. When this system senses danger, for example an injury or a pathogen, it responds by initiating inflammation.

Macrophages are key cellular components of innate immunity, with important roles in coordinating inflammatory responses and in destroying invading microorganisms. When their functions are dysregulated, macrophages can trigger inappropriate or excessive inflammation, which is a key driver of many common diseases. The Sweet Group studies the genes and pathways that lead to inappropriate inflammatory responses in macrophages, with the goal of targeting these pathways to develop novel anti-inflammatory therapies.Our recent focus has been on understanding metabolic control of macrophage functions and applying this understanding to inflammation-related diseases such as chronic liver disease.

Macrophages employ an arsenal of weaponry to destroy invading microorganisms, but many important human pathogens can disarm macrophages to establish an infection and cause disease.The Sweet Group also characterizes macrophage antimicrobial responses against bacterial pathogens, so that these pathways can be exploited for the development of new anti-infective agents.

Group leader

Prof Matt Sweet

Professor Matt Sweet

Group Leader, Innate immunity, infection and inflammation

Director, Centre for inflammation and Disease Research, IMB

  +61 7 334 62082
  UQ Researcher Profile

Our approach

An understanding of the molecular processes that control the many functions of macrophages can provide fundamental insights into disease processes.

“We have identified cellular pathways that prevent macrophages from killing some human pathogens, and we are now exploring ways to manipulate the innate immune system to unleash its power to conquer infectious diseases.”

“Instead of using antibiotics, which bacteria can rapidly evolve resistance to, our goal is to defeat specific pathogens by using the bodies own defence system.”

“Innate immunity is a system of incredible influence. If we can understand how this system works, then we can learn how to harness its power to kill infectious agents, and to halt disease-causing inflammation,” said Group Leader Professor Matt Sweet. 

Our team

  Group Leader

  • Professor Matt Sweet

    NHMRC Leadership Fellow - GL & Director of Training
    Institute for Molecular Bioscience



Research excellence

$1.3 billion+ commercial investment attracted to IMB research
1454 international collaborators
300+ original publications in 2022
$28M in research funding last calendar year
20%+ of patent families at UQ are derived from IMB research
100% of donations go to the cause

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  • Researchers from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) have made advances in understanding the cellular processes that occur during wound healing, skin cancer, and inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis.
  • Three talented young researchers have been awarded UQ postdoctoral fellowships to support their promising research over the next three years at UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience.
  • University of Queensland researchers will play a key role in a new $39 million research centre working to unravel the secrets of the immune system.


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