Principal Advisor: Dr Antiopi Varelias

Email: antiopi.varelias@qimrberghofer.edu.au

Phone: 07 3362 0322

Research group: Transplantation immunology

Organisational unit: QIMR Berghofer, School of Clinical Medicine

Stem cell transplantation (SCT) remains the preferred treatment option for the majority of blood cancers. However, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major complication that limits its utility. Thus, there is an urgent need for new approaches to prevent and/or limit GVHD to make this a safer treatment.

Chemotherapy/radiation prior to transplant damages the intestinal epithelium resulting in systemic exposure to bacteria and their by-products that are normally sequestered in the lumen. Gut bacteria are important regulators of GVHD and transplant outcome. The aim of this research project is to define the host immune response and its interaction with intestinal bacteria and their by-products during acute GVHD. This project is not limited to, but will involve, extensive animal work, flow cytometry, immunological assays, genomic sequencing and microbiological techniques.