Simon Barry

Professor Simon Barry

Senior Research Fellow - PG Coordinator

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

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


Professor Simon C Barry
I have developed a collaborative research program in the discipline of Paediatrics which has both a basic science and a translational component. This allows me to undertake gene discovery and functional validation in vitro and then access human clinical material to determine whether there is a causal link with disease. I run a grant funded research group within the Robinson Research Institute, and. I currently have a group of 5 staff and 3 students working on three projects.

I have developed a collaborative research program in the discipline of Paediatrics which has both a basic science and a translational component. This allows me to undertake gene discovery and functional validation in vitro and then access human clinical material to determine whether there is a causal link with disease.  I run a grant funded research group within the Robinson Research Institute, and. I currently have a group of 5 staff and 3 students working on three projects.  

Basic research

My background in molecular biology and gene discovery while working at Immunex in Seattle lead me to use unbiased genome wide discovery platforms as a way to identify the key genes and pathways in a cell, and I have had a long standing interest in transcriptional regulation and how gene networks collaborate to shape a phenotype. I have applied this to the field of molecular immunology, and to the transcription factor FOXP3 in particular. FOXP3 is essential for the formation and function of regulatory T cells (Tregs), and without Treg, a fatal aggressive autoimmune disease occurs (known as IPEX in man, and SCURFY in mouse). Treg are the policemen of the immune system and are responsible for maintaining tolerance to health, and for maintaining immune homeostasis. The lack of Treg or Treg function is now accepted as part of the cause of many autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 diabetes, IBD, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and hence Treg play a significant part in maintaining health. With consecutive funding from 3 NHMRC project grants, I have been able to use genome wide approaches to discover the key targets of FOXP3 in human Treg, and to validate their biological importance in vitro and in vivo. My group was the first in the world to achieve this for human FOXP3 and we discovered a key target of FOXP3, SATB1 which is regulated to maintain Treg function. This is an international collaboration, and is productivity is demonstrated by a new NHMRC grant in 2012 and a paper in Nature Immunology. I have also taken advantage of the new finding that FOXP3 may act as a tumour suppressor in human beast epithelia, and we have used our FOXP3 target discovery to uncover novel mechanisms by which FOXP3 may act as such a tumour suppressor. This project began as an honours project, grew to a Ph.D project, and received NHMRC project funding for 2012-15. We are also investigating the role of microRNAs in the regulation of the Treg gene network, and this has lead to a new collaboration on the role of miRs in reproduction and 2 NHMRC grants with Prof Sarah Robertson.

Translational Research

I also led a project team in the $68 million CRC for Biomarker Translation, which aims to discover novel Treg surface proteins with commercial partners BD and AMGEN. I bring novel surface protein candidates to this CRC from my NHMRC funded basic science project. The commercialisation process for these novel surface markers is underway, with two full US, Europe and Australia patents awarded to protect a novel cell surface biomarker of human regulatory T cells, and a cell therapy to treat diseases with a Treg defect. This project is now at the stage where we seek a commercial partner to undertake a pilot clinical trial and translate my research findings to commercial applications.

Most recently I was invited to join and lead a theme in a new CRC for cell therapy manufacturing, and this was awarded $53 million in Jan 2013. This CRC will further aid my commercialisation and translational research program by developing methods to generate a cell therapy at lower cost of goods. We have filed 2 patents from the work in this CRC, and have now launched a small Biotech start-up (Carina Biotech) to commercialise human T cell expansion technologies, and apply them for human clinical trials. This will make A Treg and CAR-T cell therapy feasible in the future, and will make it affordable for healthcare systems and for commercial applications

Summary of major funding

Since my arrival in Jan 2004, I have been successful in attracting over $3.2 million in research funding ($1,210,500 currently to my lab), including 5 NHMRC project grants as CIA, an NHMRC program grant as CID and an ARC linkage grant as CIA.  As a co senior applicant I am a CI on 2 NHMRC project grants, and 2 Cooperative Research Centre programs. In collaboration with a national team lead by Prof Couper I am a named chief investigator on the ENDIA study, a $10 million birth cohort study funded by the JDRF and Helmsley trust. In addition, I have attracted a number of small grants as CIA and a commercial partnership.  I am named CI on 4 NHMRC project applications under consideration in the current round. From 2006, my successful grant application rate is over 80%. This has allowed growth in staff in my group, and allowed a number of collaborations to be initiated, and these are now yielding high impact publications.

Barry Group Funding

Teaching

         Annual lecture delivery to year 3 Infection and Immunity course in the Bachelor of Science degree (Faculty of Science, School of Biological Sciences, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. This course is coordinated by Prof Shaun McColl, and is managed by Chris Wong and Jamie Botten. I have been delivering a research and training lecture to this course since 2006, and although I have not received SELT scores for my contribution to this, I have been invited to teach in this course for 8 years, and I have doubled the number of lectures I deliver since 2014.

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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 Principal Supervisor Do non-coding RNAs shape immune cell function? Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Holly Amber Withers
    2019 Principal Supervisor Does the SATBI superenhancer prevent autoimmunity in mice? Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Katherine Alexandra Brown
    2018 Co-Supervisor Three-Dimensional Printing of Regulatory T-Cells and Islets: A Novel Immunotherapy to Prevent Transplantation Rejection Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Juewan Kim
    2017 Principal Supervisor Defining the Targets of Anti Immune disease - Associated Variation in Human Regulatory T Cells Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Ying Ying Wong
    2017 Co-Supervisor Investigating Three Dimensional Chromosome Structure in Regulatory T Cells using High-Resolution Chromosome Conformation Capture Assays Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ning Liu
    2016 Co-Supervisor Physiological Immunodeficiency of Immaturity of the Neonate- a Window of Opportunity for Attaining a Healthy Development Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Khalida Perveen
    2016 Principal Supervisor Molecular Mechanism of Chromatin Organization and Gene Regulation Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Mr Soon Wei Wong
    2013 Co-Supervisor Intestinal Permeability, Mucosal Immunity and the Gut Microbiome in Type 1 Diabetes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Jessica Emily Harbison
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2015 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Hormone and transcription factor regulation of cytokines in the mammary gland Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Vahid Atashgaran
    2013 - 2018 Co-Supervisor T Regulatory Cells in Early Pregnancy in Mice Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Bihong Zhang
    2011 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Longevity of Airway Gene Therapy for Cystic Fibrosis: Single and Repeat Lentiviral Dosing Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Patricia Lucia Cmielewski
    2011 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Characterisation of PI16+ T helper cells Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Arunesh Pullaniparambil Mohandas
    2011 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Cystic Fibrosis: The role of airway stem cells in sustained gene expression by lentiviral directed gene therapy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Nigel Farrow
    2009 - 2013 Principal Supervisor A Tumour Suppressor Role for FOXP3 and FOXP3-regulated MicroRNAs in Breast Cancer Cells Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Natasha McInnes
    2008 - 2018 Principal Supervisor BMEA: Bayesian Modelling for Exon Array Data Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Stephen Martin Pederson
    2006 - 2009 Co-Supervisor Regulatory T Cells, Th17 Effector Cells and Cytokine Microenvironment in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Coeliac Disease Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Nicola Eastaff-Leung
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  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2015 - ongoing Board Member Cell bank Australia children's medical research institute Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2014 - ongoing Member RRI Executive Robinson Research Institute Australia
    2009 - ongoing Vice-Chair WCHN IBC WCHN Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2014 - ongoing Member ISCT Australia
    2004 - ongoing Member ASI Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2016 - ongoing Associate Editor Frontiers in Immunology Robinson Research Insitute Australia
  • Industry Partnerships

    Date Engagement Type Partner Name
    2011 - ongoing Consultant BeckTon Dickenson
  • Position: Senior Research Fellow - PG Coordinator
  • Phone: 81616562
  • Email: simon.barry@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8161 7031
  • Campus: Womens & Childrens Hospital
  • Building: WCH - Clarence Rieger Building, floor 2
  • Org Unit: Paediatrics and Reproductive Health

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