Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research

The innate immune system has a central role in inflammation-driven diseases.

When it identifies danger, for example an injury or a pathogen, innate immunity triggers a chain of events to restore homeostasis. This response is called inflammation. Inflammation is essential for eliminating agents that may cause harm and for healing, but if uncontrolled, it can cause enormous damage. In fact, inflammation is a key driver of most diseases. It is a system of incredible influence. Researchers at the Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research (CIDR) are developing a detailed understanding of how this process works, so they can devise strategies to control it. If they can block or reduce inflammation when it is unchecked, they may be able to develop new approaches to tackle many important and common diseases. 

The ultimate goal of CIDR is to develop new biomarkers and therapies, so that we can identify, prevent and/or treat the underlying causes of many inflammation-related diseases. These include inflammatory bowel diseases, fatty liver disease, sepsis, arthritis, asthma, cancer, obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.


General information and enquiries
Email: inflammation@imb.uq.edu.au

Research enquiries
Associate Professor Kate Schoder
Director, IMB Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research
Email: k.schroder@imb.uq.edu.au
Phone: +61 7 334 62058

Partner with IMB


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Deputy Director

Management committee members

  • Professor Jennifer Stow

    Professorial Research Fellow
    Professorial Research Fellow - GL
    Institute for Molecular Bioscience
  • Professor David Fairlie

    Division Head & Group Leader, Chemistry and Structural Biology Division
    NHMRC Snr Principal Research Fellow
    Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Inflammation discovery: New players in pathology

Understanding how inflammation is controlled is the first step in advancing diagnostics and treatments. Researchers are investigating receptors, signalling pathways, intracellular enzymes and secreted proteins involved in inflammation. We aim to confirm the novel genes, proteins and pathways that drive unhealthy inflammation.

Inflammation translation: New drugs to turn inflammation ‘on’ and/or ‘off’

Once we know how inflammation is controlled we can identify potential drug targets and therapies, or repurpose existing drugs, to treat chronic inflammatory diseases. These include some diseases that were not previously considered to have an inflammatory origin.

We aim to develop new chemical entities with novel anti-inflammatory drug profiles. These may ultimately lead to new treatments for inflammation-related diseases.

Tackling chronic liver disease: New therapies are urgently needed

Chronic liver disease is an inflammatory disease that affects up to 30% of the population. Its major causes are viral hepatitis, alcohol and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In chronic liver disease, cell damage and inflammation drive liver fibrosis, which can progress to cirrhosis, liver cancer and other complications.

Currently, there are no approved therapies for chronic liver disease-associated liver fibrosis. We are collaborating with clinicians, scientists and industry to identify new candidate targets and potential biomarkers for this important disease.

‘Lighting up’ inflammation: New technologies to track inflammation

To enhance detection and monitoring of inflammatory processes in specific organs and accelerate drug development, new fluorescent probes and biosensors are being developed to track the migration and status of inflammatory cells and mediators.

These new technologies will help us to understand pathological processes and inflammatory targets in models of human inflammatory diseases. The aim is to lead to new approaches for diagnosis of inflammation-related diseases.

Read Professor Jenny Stow's explainer on inflammation.

Inflammation acts as the body’s alarm system during infection and injury, and it plays an essential role in the body’s healing processes. For example, when you sprain your ankle, it swells up and is painful; this process helps to limit your movement so that the body can carry out essential repair processes. Inflammation also responds to other health disruptions triggered by genetic and/or environmental changes.

However, an imbalance between immune cell activation and its control can cause excessive inflammation leading to inappropriate attempts by the body to repair specific tissues, leading to acute and chronic diseases.

Dysregulated inflammation lies at the heart of many human diseases, resulting in pain, loss of normal body functions and disease progression.

These include diseases of the:

  • gastrointestinal tract (e.g. inflammatory bowel diseases, IBD)
  • liver (e.g. non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH)
  • bone and joints (e.g. rheumatoid and osteoarthritis)
  • respiratory tract (e.g. asthma)
  • brain and spinal chord (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease)
  • metabolic and cardiovascular systems (e.g. type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis)
  • skin (e.g. dermatitis, psoriasis)
  • multiple organs (e.g. cancer, sepsis, lupus).

IMB Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research (CIDR) scientists are dedicated to investigating inflammation and developing diagnostics and treatments for inflammation-related diseases. Inflammation affects us all during our lifetimes; the resulting healthcare burden is huge, and is still growing, due to lifestyle choices and our ageing population. For example:

  • 61,000 Australians are estimated to have IBD
  • 28% of Australians have arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. That’s around 6.1 million people
  • Approximately 10% of the population has asthma. That’s 2 million people
  • In 2004-05 health expenditure due to asthma was $606 million
  • The health costs of treating liver disease in 2012 were estimated as $432 million
  • 3.4 million or 1 in 6 Australians had cardiovascular disease in 2007–08
  • The estimated total number of new cancers diagnosed in 2012 was 120,710.

Sourced from: The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Asthma Australia, IBD Support Australia, Hepatitis Australia, Gastroenterological Society of Australia. 

Thank you to the following individuals and organisations for their generous support.

UQ partners and collaborators

External and Global collaborators

Funding partners

Joint initiatives

Collaborate with us

Commercial opportunities

UQ partners and collaborators

Dr Antje Blumenthal

UQ Diamantina Institute

Associate Professor Stuart Kellie

Institute for Molecular Bioscience Adjunct, UQ

Professor Bostjan Kobe

IMB Adjunct

NHMRC Research Fellow, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, Faculty of Science, UQ

Professor Alastair McEwan

Dean, UQ Graduate School, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, Faculty of Science, UQ

Dr Simon Phipps

ARC Future Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, UQ

Dr Mark Ruitenberg

Senior Lecturer, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, UQ

Professor Mark Schembri

ARC Future Fellow, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, Faculty of Science, UQ

Dr Kate Stacey

IMB Adjunct

NHMRC Research Fellow, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, Faculty of Science, UQ

Professor Mark Walker

NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, Faculty of Science, UQ

Associate Professor Trent Woodruff

ARC Future Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, UQ

Dr Kate Irvine

School of Medicine, Translational Research Institute, UQ

Dr Simon Phipps

School of Biomedical Sciences, UQ

Professor Elizabeth Powell

School of Medicine, Translational Research Institute, UQ

Professor Peter Sly

Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Child Health Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical School, UQ

External and Global collaborators

Dr Jake Begun

Translational Research Institute, Mater Research, Brisbane, Australia

Professor Tim Florin

Translational Research Institute, Mater Research, Brisbane, Australia

Professor Mike McGuckin

Translational Research Institute, Mater Research, Brisbane, Australia

Associate Professor Thiruma (Garrie) Arumugam

The University of Melbourne, Australia

Professor Bart Vanhaesebroeck

Research Department of Oncology, Cancer Institute, Faculty of Medical Sciences

University College London, UK

Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

Dr Konrad Bode

University of Heidelberg, Germany

Professor Katherine Cianflone

Laval University, Quebec, Canada

Professor Vojo Deretic

Chair, Faculty in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of New Mexico

Professor Sergio Grinstein

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Professor Morley Hollenberg

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Professor David Hume

Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, UK

Professor Kum Kum Khanna

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Associate Professor Maciej Markiewski

School of Pharmacy, Texas Tech University, Texas, USA

Professor Luke O’Neill

School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Associate Professor Timothy Ravasi

Biological and Environmental Sciences & Engineering Division, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Professor Jamie Rosssjohn

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biomedical Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Associate Professor Glen Scholz

Funding partners

ANZ Trustees

ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging

Australian Cancer Research Foundation

Australian Research Council

National Health and Medical Research Council

Queensland Government

The Fonds de recherche du Québec − Santé (Canada)

UQ Foundation

Joint initiatives

ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging

European Union FP7 Parasitology Consortium (A-PARADISE)

Proteins and glycans in host-pathogen interactions: targets for novel drugs and vaccines

Collaborate with us

If you are an inflammation researcher, clinician, or advocacy or community group interested in collaborating with CIDR, we would love to hear from you.

Please contact IMB’s Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research, Associate Professor Matt Sweet on inflammation@imb.uq.edu.au.

Commercial opportunities

IMB research is managed through The University of Queensland’s commercialisation company, UniQuest.

UniQuest is one of Australia’s leading research commercialisation companies, specialising in global technology transfer and facilitating access for all business sectors to world-class university expertise, intellectual property and facilities.

UniQuest works closely with IMB’s Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research to pursue commercial opportunities with leading pharmaceutical companies, ensuring the centre’s discoveries improve quality of life for all Australians living with pain.

To enquire about commercial opportunities with the centre, please contact Dr Mark Ashton on m.ashton@uniquest.com.au.