Kerrilyn Diener

Dr Kerrilyn Diener

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/

Projects:
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.

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  • Appointments

    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
  • Education

    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
  • Research Interests

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)

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  • 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
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Development of a virus-vectored vaccine against Hepatitis A and B viruses using a novel vaccine platform University of South Australia Doctorate Fan Jia
    2015 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Elucidating the role of B regulatory cells in pregnancy University of South Australia Doctorate Ruth Marian Guzman-Genuino
    2013 - 2018 Principal Supervisor The innate recognition of murine cytomegalovirus during the pre-implantation period and consequences for pregnancy University of South Australia Doctorate Shamika Moore
    2012 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Development and evaluation of ovine polyclonal antibody therapies for the treatment of sever influenza infection and bacterial sepsis University of South Australia Doctorate Natalie Stevens
    2011 - 2015 Co-Supervisor The use of biomaterials to investigate and modulate innate and adaptive immunity University of South Australia Doctorate Susan Christo
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  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2011 - 2017 Member PdCCRS/NHMRC Grant Review Committee (Cancer Australia)
  • Memberships

    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)
  • Position: NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow
  • Phone: 83131505
  • Email: kerrilyn.diener@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences, floor 6
  • Room: WS6071.11
  • Org Unit: Paediatrics and Reproductive Health

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