Researcher biography

Survival of multicellular organisms depends on their ability to fight infection, metabolise nutrients and store energy for times of need. Therefore, inflammation and metabolism are two fundamental biological processes that are very critical to govern life. Immunology & endocrinology have traditionally been listed as separate entities in many physiology textbooks. However, we have now realised that they have evolved somewhat in parallel, and have now meandered back, intersecting to create an exciting new field of research – 'immunometabolism'. Our studies focus on the various aspects of immunometabolism, from mediators and signalling pathways to therapeutic opportunities. We are exploring the mechanisms of metabolic control of immune response, and vice versa, in physiology and under metabolic, inflammatory & infectious stress. Our investigations so far are targeted both at the cellular level in in vitro human & murine biological systems (eg. granulocytes, mast cells, macrophages, adipocytes, kidney & gut epithelia, pancreatic β-cells) as well as in whole-body in vivo murine models of human disease (eg. obesity & type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease & cancer, arthritis, paw oedema, I/R injury, cardiac & kidney fibrosis). These studies are providing insights into the role of energy balance on immune responses and effector functions and the effect of altering metabolism on inflammation, and vice versa. By uncovering the nexus between inflammation and metabolism, as well as identifying novel therapeutic targets, we aim to develop more effective therapies that can treat the underpinning causes of inflammatory, metabolic diseases & cancers, and not just the symptoms. Our research aims to cover fundamental research listed as ARC Priorities and also not just one but a gamut of immunometabolism-driven diseases listed as National Health Priority Areas by the NHMRC.