NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow
Adelaide Medical School
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Robinson Research Institute Research Fellow
Reproductive Immunology Group; Head, Prof Sarah Robertson: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/robinson-research-institute/researchers/group-leaders/robertson/
The effect of maternal anti-viral immune responses on reproductive success
Viruses such as cytomegalovirus and Zika virus are known to affect fetal development. Dr Kerrilyn Diener, in collaboration with Prof Sarah Robertson and Prof John Hayball, are interested in understanding how the maternal immune response to such viral infections during pregnancy can impact on reproductive outcomes. Of particular interest is dissecting out how the maternal innate immune response can change immune and neurodevelopment in the fetus such that offspring exhibit altered immune responses and behavioural abnormalities upon further immune challenges after birth.
The role of HMGB1, a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP), in neonatal sepsis
Sepsis, an overwhelming infection, remains a leading cause of death in both adult and neonatal intensive care units, with preterm babies being particularly vulnerable to hospital-acquired infections. Dr Kerrilyn Diener, in collaboration with Prof John Hayball, A/Prof Michael Stark and Dr Nicki Hodyl are investigating how high-mobility box group 1 (HMGB1) potentiates disease. Building on previous studies performed with adult human samples and adult mouse models of disease, we aim to continue development of a passive antibody treatment for septic neonates that will increase survival and reduce the long term morbidity often observed in survivors of neonatal sepsis.
The effect viral infection during the peri-conception period has on the induction of B regulatory cells
Viral infections in humans have been linked to increased proportions of pregnancy complications including preeclampsia, preterm labour and miscarriage, although the mechanisms behind this are unclear. We have recently shown in mouse studies that a sub-clinical viral infection of the uterine tract during the pre-implantation period causes a dramatic reduction in local T regulatory cell numbers and results in decreased pregnancy rates and growth trajectories of resultant offspring. Over the past decade, investigations into a population of suppressor B cells, collectively known as regulatory B cells, have increased, particularly since studies of operationally tolerant (immunosuppression-free) kidney transplant recipients uncovered a molecular signature on the B cells that was different or absent in recipients with stable kidney function on immunosuppression or chronic rejection. Furthermore, evidence suggests that B cells are fundamental in sustaining T regulatory cells, with B cell-deficient mice also exhibiting a reduced frequency of T regulatory cells. One of the hallmarks of B regulatory cells is their capacity to produce IL-10, and in the abortion-prone murine model of pregnancy loss, a lack of CD19+CD5+CD1d+ regulatory IL-10 producing B cells is noted. Whilst within the reproductive field the study of B regulatory cells remains in its infancy, conclusions drawn from studies of other disease states suggests that an intimate relationship between B regulatory cells and T regulatory cells might be necessary for a robust and uneventful pregnancy.
Date Position Institution name 2017 Robinson Research Institute Research Fellow The University of Adelaide 2011 - 2016 NHMRC Training Fellow The University of Adelaide 2010 - 2010 Cure Cancer Australia Postdoctoral Research Officer University of South Australia 2009 - 2009 Hanson Institute Postdoctoral Research Officer Royal Adelaide Hospital 2001 - 2008 Research Assistant Royal Adelaide Hospital 1997 - 2000 Sessional demonstrator (immunology) The University of Adelaide 1996 - 1996 Research Assistant The University of Adelaide
Awards and Achievements
Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount 2011 Recognition Register of Eligible Research Supervisors, The University of Adelaide — — — 2009 Recognition Register of Postgraduate Research Degree Supervisors, University of South Australia — — — 2009 Award Sansom Medal University of South Australia — —
Date Institution name Country Title 2008 University of South Australia Australia PhD 1995 The University of Adelaide Australia BSc (Hons) 1994 The University of Adelaide Australia BSc
2016 Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation
Investigations into sepsis-induced high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) and effects on neurodevelopment in survivors of neonatal sepsis. KR Diener, N Hodyl, M Stark, J Hayball, X-F Zhou.
Awarded $75,000 (2017-2018)
2016 Robinson Research Institute Innovation Seed Funding Program
Exploring Zika virus disease pathology and vaccine efficacy in pregnant mouse models. K.R. Diener, H. Marshall, S.A. Robertson, J.D. Hayball, A. Suhrbier
Awarded $25,000 (2017)
2016 Robinson Research Institute Engaging Opportunities Program
The conception of a preconception resource-#rightmessage #rightaudience #righttime #conceptionhealthmatters. RRI E/MCR Conception Consortium: Dr Hannah Brown, Dr Kerri Diener, Dr Jimmy Breen, Dr Alice Rumbold, Dr Nicki Hodyl, Dr Tod Fullston, Dr John Schjenken, Dr David Sharkey, Dr Martin Donnelley, Dr Tina Bianco-Miotto, Dr Megan Penno.
Awarded $25,000 (2017)
2016 Robinson Research Institute Travel Grant
‘Murine cytomegalovirus infection during early pregnancy impacts on reproductive outcomes’. K.R.Diener.
Awarded $550 (2016)
2015 Robinson Research Institute Innovation Seed Funding Program
Investigations into the effect viral infection during the peri-conception period has on the induction of B regulatory cells, and what role a lack of these have on subsequent susceptibility to miscarriage and/or preterm delivery. K.R. Diener, N Hodyl, S. Barry and J.D. Hayball
Awarded $25,000 (2015-2016)
2014 Robinson Research Institute Innovation Seed Funding Program
The development of a new passive immunotherapeutic for the treatment and prevention of sepsis in mouse neonates. K. R. Diener, J. D. Hayball, M Stark, and N Hodyl
Awarded $25,000 (2014-2015).
2012 Robinson Institute Travel Grant
‘Role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells within the uterine tract’. K.R.Diener.
Awarded $1300 (2012).
2012 NHMRC Project Grant, Application ID 1020984
‘The consequences of innate immune inflammatory responses during early pregnancy and their effect on reproductive outcomes’. K.R.Diener
Awarded $326,175 (2012-2014)
2011 NHMRC Equipment Grant, Applications ID GNT9000031
‘Becton Dickinson FACSCanto II Three Colour Flow Cytometer’. W.V.Ingman, S.A.Robertson, R.J.Rodgers, D.L.Russell, M.Lane, V.L.Clifton, M.L.Hull, M.R.Hutchinson, and K.R.Diener
Awarded $90,000 (2011)
2011 NHMRC Training Fellowship, Application ID 1012386
‘Innate anti-viral effector responses and adverse reproductive outcomes’. K.R.Diener
Awarded $290,032 (2011-2013 full-time; 2015-2016 part-time)
2011 Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Committee Mary Overton Early Career Research Fellowship
‘A comparative analysis of the relative therapeutic efficacy of phenotypically-distinct populations of genetically-modified tumour-specific T cells as detected and assessed by functionalised solid support surfaces’. K.R.Diener
Awarded $252,000 (2011-2013)
Note: rescinded due to acceptance of NHMRC Training Fellowship
2011 Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Committee Project Grant
‘Assessing the neutralising activity of therapeutic antibodies directed against the endogenous alarmin HMGB1 in serum samples from septic shock patients and in an experimental murine model of bacterial sepsis’. K.R.Diener, J.D. Hayball and M.J. Chapman.
Awarded $25,000 (2011)
2010 NHMRC/Cancer Australia, Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme, Application ID 631921.
‘Development of microfluidic chips to isolate and analyse peripheral blood cell populations in pancreatic cancer patients’. K.R. Diener.
Awarded $90,000 (2010)
2010 University of South Australia Competitive Research Development Grants Scheme
‘Early anti-viral immune responses within the reproductive tract and the effect on reproductive outcomes’. K.R.Diener and J.D.Hayball
Awarded $15,000 (2010)
2010 University of South Australia Competitive NHMRC Project Grant Funding Scheme
‘A comparative analysis of the relative therapeutic efficacy of phenotypically-distinct populations of genetically-modified tumour-specific T cells as detected and assessed by functionalised solid support surfaces’. K.R.Diener, H.J.Griesser, J.D.Hayball, M.P.Brown, and K.Vasilev
Awarded $10,000 (2010)
2006 Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Committee Clinical Project Grant
‘An investigation of autophagy in response to hormone deprivation in prostate cancer: implications for therapeutic treatment regimes’. M.P. Brown, K.R. Diener, and J.D. Hayball. Awarded $20,000 (2006)
Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2014 Principal Supervisor New Therapeutics for Neonatal Sepsis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Nerissa Lakhan
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2013 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Toll-Like Receptor 4 Signalling in Inflammation Pathways to Term and Preterm Delivery Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Hanan Hamimi Binti Wahid
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2011 - 2017 Member PdCCRS/NHMRC Grant Review Committee (Cancer Australia) — —
Date Role Membership Country 2012 - ongoing — Developmental Origins for Health and Disease Australia and New Zealand (DOHaD ANZ) — 2011 - ongoing — Society for Reproductive Biology (SRB) — 1995 - ongoing — Australasian Society for Immunology (ASI) —
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