Harshita Pant

Harshita Pant

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Dr Harshita Pant is a practising ear, nose & throat surgeon (otorhinolaryngologist) sub-specialising in rhinology and skull base surgery, with a strong research focus into the causes and treatments of chronic rhinosinusitis and head and neck cancers. She is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide and Clinical Lead of the Allergy and Cancer Immunology Laboratory at the Centre of Cancer Biology.

Patients suffering from chronic mucosal airway inflammation (allergies, sinusitis, nasal polyps and asthma) and mucosal cancer (squamous cell head and neck cancer) have a diverse range of disease severity and prognosis. Eosinophils are found in large numbers in these diseases and are believed to underpin disease pathology. Until recently, eosinophils were believed to consist of a single homogeneous population. A/Prof Pant’s research team has now made the important discovery that eosinophils from nasal polyp patients are transcriptionally diverse, which strongly suggests distinct eosinophil subpopulations involved in airway diseases. Supporting this notion, and contrary to current belief, eosinophils in the tissues of patients with nasal polyps and asthma do not always signify a poorer prognosis, indicating that some eosinophil populations were not harmful and in fact, may be beneficial. Deciphering eosinophil subtypes may be a better and a more precise way of selecting treatment-resistant asthma and nasal polyp patients in need for new treatments including add-on precision monoclonal antibody therapy.

A/Prof Pant’s research has already developed new paradigms of mast cells responses in allergic inflammation ( J Exp Med 2017; Immunity 2019) and now seeks  to better understand the relationships and cell-to-cell crosstalk between eosinophils, mast cells and other immune cells in the inflammatory and tumour microenvironment. With concurrent studies in in-vitro epithelial cell models, humanised mouse models and asthma models (Allergy 2020), she is improving our understanding of how viruses and fungi cause epigenetic changes in susceptible individuals. A/Prof Pant  recognises that diseases are not compartmentalised to one system or a single biological process, and that the prognosis and response to therapy is unique to individual patients (invited review in J Allergy and Clin Immunol, in press).

Similarly, in head and neck cancer patients she is exploring new ways of immunomodulation to prevent local and systemic spread, recurrence and early detection. To this end, her research team incorporates the clinical expertise spanning ENT surgery, respiratory, immunology, oncology, pathology, microbiology and clinical pharmacology. 

If you are interested in changing the lives of patients with head & neck cancer, chronic airway inflammation, allergy or immune disorders please contact A/Prof Pant. Her research team has exciting opportunities integrating clinical and laboratory research in a supportive environment for Honours, Masters and PhD students.

NHMRC Ideas Grant (2021-2024) Chief Investigator C. Other investigators: Prof Angel Lopez; Dr Damon Tumes; Dr Luciano Martelotto; Dr Nicholas Wilson Resolving eosinophil and inflammatory heterogeneity in chronic allergic airway disease for safer, effective and lasting precision therapies. Value: $AUD 1,166165.00

NHMRC Project Grant (2017-2019) with Prof. Angel Lopez; A/Prof. Michele Grimbaldeston. Novel approaches to control mast cell function in allergic inflammation. Value: $AUD 723,447.00


Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation (2022-2024) with Dr Damon Tumes; Anita Kral. Does airway epithelial progenitor cell reprogramming by viral and bacterial infections cause childhood asthma? Value: $99,188.00

Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation Junior Fellowship (2022) Dr Carly Whyte. Defining the therapeutic potential of eosinophils in head and neck cancer.

Years 4 and 5

  • Year 5 School of Medicine Teaching Series (2012 to current): ENT teaching
  • Year 4 Surgical home unit (2012 to current) ENT teaching
  • Year 4/5 Coordinator (2018)
  • School of Medicine Teaching Series Coordinator (2012-2018)

Adelaide University Surgical Society

  • Beneath the Scrubs event mentor: Professionalism, respect, inclusivity and diversity in medicine/surgery. Health care for professionals.
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2023 Principal Supervisor Immunological determinants of head and neck cancer progression and metastasis, in particular the role of cancer associated fibroblasts Master of Philosophy (Surgery) Master Full Time Miss Laura Kenyon
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2010 - 2012 Co-Supervisor The Environment and the Host in Chronis Rhinosinusitis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Samuel Joseph Boase
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Therapeutic potential of eosinophils in head and neck cancer The University of South Australia - Postdoctorate - Dr Carly Whyte
    2020 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Deciphering how airway epithelial programming and inflammation cause chronic allergic airways disease The University of South Australia PhD Doctorate Part Time Anita Kral
    2018 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Single cell transcriptional analysis of nasal polyps: a novel approach to the molecular basis of disease The University of Adelaide MBBS Honours Full Time Angus Sarah

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