Adelaide Medical School
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.
I am an early career researcher with the Centre for Clinical and Experimental Transplantation. I trained as an immunologist under Professor Toby Coates and Drs Plinio Hurtado and Chris Hope at the University of Adelaide. I currently hold the Mary Overton Early Career Fellowship from the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and appointments with the Adelaide Medical School, SA Pathology, and the International Society of Nephrology. Under the mentorship of Professor Coates, I lead a team of clinicians and scientists undertaking bench-to-bedside translational research to understand and improve protective vaccine responses in immunocompromised populations. Over the last few years, pursuing this goal has taken us from in-depth clinical and molecular immunology to two interventional clinical trials, and has led to excellent collaborations with interstate and international colleagues and people affected by a range of immune-compromising conditions.
My research area is clinical and translational immunology, with a strong grounding in laboratory sciences. Since starting out in 2019, I have presented my research at 8 domestic and 6 international conferences, and have co-authored 26 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including Kidney International, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Blood Cancer Journal, Gut, and Nature Immunology.
Immunosuppression & Vaccine Response
Transplant recipients receive immunosuppressive drugs to prevent their immune system from attacking the 'non-self' transplant. During my PhD I described the severe impact that these drugs have on the antibody and T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs), many of whom remain highly vulnerable to COVID-19 and other vaccine-preventable infections (VPIs). In my current fellowship, I am working with a team of two PhD candidates, and local and interstate clinicians, immunologists and virologists, to develop and test strategies to improve long-lived and cross-protective immunity of KTRs against key VPIs - COVID-19, Influenza, Shingles. This work has uncovered two promising targets for intervention to restore patients' T cell and antibody responses: the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) in T cells, and immunomodulatory microbial species within the gut. We recently completed two multi-centre, randomised controlled trials exploiting these targets in KTRs to improve their response to SARS-CoV-2 booster vaccination.
We are also investigating vaccine responses in people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS), end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), myelofibrosis (MF), and haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients.
Vaccine Allergy & Tolerance
A small percentage of people experience hypersensitivity reactions to the novel mRNA nanoparticle vaccines against COVID-19. During the pandemic I worked with the Royal Adelaide Hospital Immunology Department and SA Pathology to develop a diagnostic test to stratify individuals at-risk of adverse reaction. We found that the sensitivity of people with allergy to the mRNA vaccines is dependent on the arrangement of polyethylene glycol (PEG) molecules on the surface of the lipid nanoparticle. This property enabled us to massively improve diagnostic sensitivity and reliably diagnose PEG allergy from a blood test.
This collaboration has led to ongoing trials investigating mechanisms and biomarkers of allergic desensitisation in people undergoing venom immunotherapy, and of Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitors for the prevention of exercise-induced anaphylaxis.
Clinical & Experimental Transplantation
Our lab runs a number of other translational research streams that are also available as projects for Honours, M.Phil and PhD students, including:
- Engineered Chimeric Antigen Receptor T regulatory cells (CAR Tregs) as an immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes
- 3-dimensional bioprinting of pancreatic islets and supporting cell types for type 1 diabetes
- Subcutaneous transplantation of pancreatic islets in large animal models and first-in-human trial
- Establishing total pancreatectomy with islet auto-transplantation (TPIAT) as a newly available, reimbursed cure for pancreatitis in Australia
- Patient-derived organoids to model hereditary pancreatitis
- Genetic epidemiology of hereditary pancreatitis in Australia
Date Position Institution name 2023 - ongoing Kidney International Editorial Fellow International Society of Nephrology 2023 - ongoing Mary Overton Early Career Research Fellow Royal Adelaide Hospital 2023 - ongoing Adjunct Associate Lecturer University of Adelaide 2023 - ongoing Affiliate SA Pathology
Awards and Achievements
Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount 2023 Fellowship Mary Overton Early Career Fellowship Royal Adelaide Hospital Australia $312,000 2023 Award Advanced Immunology School Award for Outstanding Contribution Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology Australia $250 2023 Fellowship Kidney International Editorial Fellowship International Society of Nephrology United States - 2022 Award Travel grant to attend the 29th International Congress of The Transplantation Society The Transplantation Society Canada $3,500 2022 Award Travel grant to attend the 13th American Transplant Congress Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia $2,500 2022 Research Award Early Career Researcher Award Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia Flights & Registration 2022 Research Award Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence University of Adelaide Australia - 2022 Research Award President's Prize Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia $3,000 2022 Research Award People's Choice Award Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia $500 2021 Award Kidney International Reviewer of the Year International Society of Nephrology United States - 2021 Research Award Early Career Researcher Award Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia Flights & Registration 2019 Research Award Young Investigator Award Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia Flights & Registration 2019 Research Award Mentee-Mentor Award American Society of Transplantation United States $2,500 2019 Award Travel grant to attend the 17th World Congress of the International Pancreas and Islet Transplantation Association Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia $2,500 2018 Scholarship Master of Philosophy (No Honours) Scholarship University of Adelaide Australia $94,616 2018 Award Travel grant to attend the Transplantation Science Symposium Asian Regional Meeting Transplantation Society of Taiwan Taiwan, Province of China $750
Date Institution name Country Title 2022 - 2022 University of Adelaide Australia PhD 2017 - 2017 University of Adelaide Australia BSc(Adv) 2017 - 2017 University of Adelaide Australia DipLang
Year Citation 2023 Zhang, W., Kedzierski, L., Chua, B. Y., Mayo, M., Lonzi, C., Rigas, V., . . . Kedzierska, K. (2023). Robust and prototypical immune responses toward COVID-19 vaccine in First Nations peoples are impacted by comorbidities.. Nature Immunology, 24(6), 966-978.
DOI Scopus4 WoS2
2023 Asare, P. F., Hurtado, P. R., Tran, H. B., Perkins, G. B., Roscioli, E., & Hodge, S. (2023). Reduction in Rubicon by cigarette smoke is associated with impaired phagocytosis and occurs through lysosomal degradation pathway.. Clin Exp Med, 23(7), 4041-4055.
2023 Montarello, N. L., Wong, H. Z., Jeffries, A., Perkins, G. B., Hissaria, P., Stokes, M. B., . . . Bradley, J. (2023). Pfizer BNT 162b2 COVID-19 vaccine–induced fulminant myopericarditis: A case study. Critical Care and Resuscitation, 25(3), 155-157.
2023 Stoler, S., van Hal, S. J., Chadban, S., Le, T., Torzillo, P., Scarlato, R. M., . . . Marinelli, T. (2023). Protracted COVID-19 pneumonitis early post-ABO incompatible kidney transplantation: Management considerations and the role of whole genome sequencing. Nephrology, 28(11), 639-643.
2023 Perkins, G. B., & Fairchild, R. L. (2023). Linking donor-specific antibody generation with natural killer cells in antibody-mediated kidney graft rejection. Kidney International, 104(4), 644-646.
2023 Perkins, G. B., Grey, S. T., & Coates, P. T. (2023). Taking the A(llorecognition) train: connecting passenger T cells to DSA. Kidney International, 103(2), 246-248.
2023 Sim, B. Z., Sim, B. L., Tunbridge, M. J., Perkins, G. B., Chai, C. S., & Coates, P. T. (2023). SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity in renal transplant patients administered intravenous immunoglobulin. Transplant Infectious Disease, 25(3), 2 pages.
2023 Alcheikh, A., Perkins, G. B., Pucar, P. A., Cecchin, A., Chai, C. S., Tunbridge, M., . . . Ross, D. M. (2023). Humoral and cellular immunity to SARS-CoV-2 Ancestral and Omicron BA.5 variants following vaccination in myelofibrosis patients.. Blood Cancer J, 13(1), 4 pages.
2023 Perkins, G. B., Tunbridge, M. J., Chai, C. S., Hope, C. M., Yeow, A. E. L., Salehi, T., . . . Coates, P. T. (2023). mTOR inhibition improves the formation of functional T cell memory following COVID-19 vaccination of kidney transplant recipients.
2022 Perkins, G. B., Hurtado, P. R., & Hissaria, P. (2022). Basophil reactivity to BNT162b2 in COVID-19 convalescence. Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 77(12), 3704-3705.
2022 Singer, J., Tunbridge, M., Perkins, G. B., Salehi, T., Ying, T., Wu, H., . . . Chadban, S. J. (2022). Rapamycin and inulin for third-dose vaccine response stimulation (RIVASTIM): Inulin - Study protocol for a pilot, multicentre, randomised, double-blinded, controlled trial of dietary inulin to improve SARS-CoV-2 vaccine response in kidney transplant recipients. BMJ Open, 12(12), 10 pages.
DOI Scopus1 WoS1 Europe PMC1
2022 Ali, S. B., Perkins, G., Ryoo, D., Lee, M., Tunbridge, M., Yuson, C., . . . Le, T. T. (2022). AstraZeneca ChAdOx1-S COVID-19 vaccine can be safely administered in patients with EDTA allergy. Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology, 18(1), 4 pages.
DOI Scopus1 WoS1 Europe PMC1
2022 Perkins, G. B., Tunbridge, M., Salehi, T., Chai, C. S., Kireta, S., Johnston, J., . . . Coates, P. T. (2022). Concurrent vaccination of kidney transplant recipients and close household cohabitants against COVID-19. Kidney International, 101(5), 1077-1080.
DOI Scopus5 WoS5 Europe PMC4
2022 Tunbridge, M., Perkins, G., Lee, M., Salehi, T., Ryoo, D., Kette, F., . . . Hissaria, P. (2022). COVID vaccination can be performed in patients with a history of allergic reactions to the vaccines or their components: experience from a specialist clinic in South Australia. Internal Medicine Journal, 52(11), 1884-1890.
2022 Tunbridge, M., Perkins, G. B., Singer, J., Salehi, T., Ying, T., Grubor-Bauk, B., . . . Coates, P. T. (2022). Rapamycin and inulin for booster vaccine response stimulation (RIVASTIM)-rapamycin: study protocol for a randomised, controlled trial of immunosuppression modification with rapamycin to improve SARS-CoV-2 vaccine response in kidney transplant recipients.. Trials, 23(1), 780.
DOI Scopus3 WoS1 Europe PMC3
2021 Troelnikov, A., Perkins, G., Yuson, C., Ahamdie, A., Balouch, S., Hurtado, P. R., & Hissaria, P. (2021). Basophil reactivity to BNT162b2 is mediated by PEGylated lipid nanoparticles in patients with PEG allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 148(1), 91-95.
DOI Scopus68 WoS66 Europe PMC44
2021 Hope, C. M., Huynh, D., Wong, Y. Y., Oakey, H., Perkins, G. B., Nguyen, T., . . . Barry, S. C. (2021). Optimization of blood handling and peripheral blood mononuclear cell cryopreservation of low cell number samples. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(17), 9129-1-9129-19.
DOI Scopus7 WoS5 Europe PMC4
2021 Perkins, G. B., Kim, J., & Coates, P. T. (2021). Going rogue: how autoantibodies become pathogenic. Kidney International, 99(4), 800-802.
2021 Zidan, A. A., Al-Hawwas, M., Perkins, G. B., Mourad, G. M., Stapledon, C. J. M., Bobrovskaya, L., . . . Hurtado, P. R. (2021). Characterization of urine stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles reveals b cell stimulating cargo. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(1), 1-21.
DOI Scopus13 WoS9 Europe PMC8
2021 Zidan, A. A., Perkins, G. B., Al-Hawwas, M., Elhossiny, A., Yang, J., Bobrovskaya, L., . . . Hurtado, P. R. (2021). Urine stem cells are equipped to provide B cell survival signals. Stem Cells, 39(6), 803-818.
DOI Scopus5 WoS5 Europe PMC5
2021 Perkins, G., Troelnikov, A., & Hissaria, P. (2021). In reply. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 148(3), 902-903.
2020 Kim, J., Hope, C. M., Gantumur, N., Perkins, G. B., Stead, S. O., Yue, Z., . . . Coates, P. T. (2020). Encapsulation of human natural and induced regulatory T-cells in IL-2 and CCL1 supplemented alginate-GelMA hydrogel for 3D bioprinting. Advanced Functional Materials, 30(15), 2000544-1-2000544-17.
DOI Scopus29 WoS24
2020 Kim, J., Perkins, G. B., & Coates, P. T. (2020). Evolutionary immunology: how your ancestry can affect your kidney transplant. Kidney International, 98(1), 45-47.
DOI Scopus2 WoS2
2020 Kim, J., Hope, C. M., Perkins, G. B., Stead, S. O., Scaffidi, J. C., Kette, F. D., . . . Coates, P. T. (2020). Rapamycin and abundant TCR stimulation are required for the generation of stable human induced regulatory T cells. Clinical & Translational Immunology, 9(12), 1-20.
DOI Scopus4 WoS6 Europe PMC4
2019 Jeffs, L., Peh, C., Nelson, A., Tan, P., Davey, E., Chappell, K., . . . Hurtado, P. (2019). IgM ANCA in healthy individuals and in patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis. Immunologic Research, 67(4-5), 325-336.
DOI Scopus5 WoS4 Europe PMC1
Year Citation 2022 Perkins, G. B., Tunbridge, M., Salehi, T., Chai, C., Hope, C. M., Garcia-Valtanen, P., . . . Coates, P. (2022). Sirolimus Use is Associated with an Improved Immune Response to COVID-19 Vaccination in Kidney Transplant Recipients. In AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Vol. 22 (pp. 873). WILEY. 2020 Stead, S. O., Kim, J., Kette, F. D., Perkins, G. B., & Coates, P. T. H. (2020). SIRNA GENE KNOCKDOWN WITH FUNCTIONALISED POROUS SILICON NANOPARTICLES. In TRANSPLANTATION Vol. 104 (pp. S158). ELECTR NETWORK: LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS.
Year Citation 2021 Asare, P. F., Tran, H. B., Hurtado, P. R., Perkins, G. B., Nguyen, P., Jersmann, H., . . . Hodge, S. (2021). Inhibition of LC3-associated phagocytosis in COPD and in response to cigarette smoke. Poster session presented at the meeting of Therapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease. England: SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD.
DOI Scopus6 WoS5 Europe PMC4
2021 Asare, P., Roscioli, E., Hurtado, P., Tran, H., & Hodge, S. (2021). INHIBITION OF LC3-ASSOCIATED PHAGOCYTOSIS (LAP) IN COPD AND IN RESPONSE TO CIGARETTE SMOKE. Poster session presented at the meeting of RESPIROLOGY. WILEY. 2020 Kim, J., Hope, C. M., Scaffidi, J. C., Stead, S. O., Perkins, G. B., Kette, F. D., . . . Coates, P. T. (2020). GENERATION OF STABLE HUMAN INDUCED REGULATORY T-CELLS REQUIRES OPTIMAL RAPAMYCIN CONCENTRATION AND TCR STIMULATION. Poster session presented at the meeting of TRANSPLANTATION. ELECTR NETWORK: LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS.
Dr Perkins has been awarded a Master of Philosophy (No Honours) Scholarship from the University of Adelaide (awarded to a handful of students university-wide each year) for $94,616, the Mary Overton ECR Fellowship worth ~$312,000, and travel grants and bursaries totalling $16,900.
He is co-investigator on three related HSCGB project grants investigating mechanisms of desensitisation after allergen immunotherapy (21/22: $46,512; 22/23: $49,404; 23/24: $49,404), and CI on two MRFF applications under consideration in the current round.
Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2023 Co-Supervisor The Effect of Sirolimus on Enhancing COVID-19 Vaccine Response in Transplant Recipients Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Cheng Sheng Chai
Other Supervision Activities
Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name 2023 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Rapamycin as an adjuvant to enhance vaccine responses in immunocompromised individuals University of Adelaide - Doctorate - Cheng Sheng Chai 2021 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Immunogenicity of COVID-19 Vaccines In South Australian Kidney Transplant Recipients University of Adelaide - Honours - Cheng Sheng Chai
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2020 - ongoing Member Early Career Researcher Committee Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia
Date Role Membership Country 2023 - ongoing Member Australiasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy Australia 2023 - ongoing Member International Society of Nephrology Belgium 2019 - ongoing Member American Society of Transplantation United States 2019 - ongoing Member Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology Australia 2018 - ongoing Member The Transplantation Society Canada 2018 - ongoing Member Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia
Date Title Engagement Type Institution Country 2023 - ongoing Social Media Representative Scientific Community Engagement Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia
Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country 2022 - ongoing Board Member Kidney International International Society of Nephrology United States
Date Office Name Institution Country 2023 - ongoing Kidney International Editorial Fellow Kidney International United States
Connect With Me