Higher Degree by Research Candidate
School of Biomedicine
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
My research investigates the impact of various maternal immune perturbations on fetal immune programming during pregnancy and whether specific aberrations render the offspring more susceptible to autoimmune development later in life.
A key cell population of the immune system, referred to as T regulatory cells (Tregs), play a critical role in maintaining homeostasis and suppressing inflammatory responses. A reduced frequency of Tregs or a defect in function can therefore, trigger an autoimmune reaction. It is thought that various environmental influences, resulting in low maternal Tregs during early gestation, programs the developing fetal immune system on a trajectory to a less tolerogenic phenotype after birth, increasing the risk of autoimmunity.
Autoimmunity affects approximately 3-5% individuals world-wide, with females being significantly more susceptible and prevalence increasing in western societies. While emphasis on lifestyle choices during pregnancy is well established, little is known about the impact of immune perturbations during peri-conception and pre-implantation stages. Our research aims to explore this potentially susceptible niche and investigate whether alterations in the maternal immune profile at early gestational time points significantly influences fetal immune development and in turn, neonatal and adult disease outcomes.
Date Position Institution name 2022 - ongoing PhD Candidate University of Adelaide 2021 - 2022 MPhil Candidate University of Adelaide
Awards and Achievements
Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount 2022 Award Best Masters Oral Presentation Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology Australia 2022 Award Robinson Research Institute Career Development Award Robinson Research Institute Australia 2022 Award Adelaide Medical School Research Travel Award Adelaide Medical School Australia 2021 Nomination David Healy New Investigator Finalist Society of Reproductive Immunology Australia 2021 Award Best Masters Oral Presentation Australian Society of Immunology Australia 2021 Award HDR Travel and Research Support Award Faculty of Health and Medicine Australia 2021 Scholarship Research Training Program Stipend (RTPS) University of Adelaide Australia 2021 Scholarship Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship Westpac Australia 2020 Award Outstanding Academic Achievement Award University of Adelaide Australia 2019 Award Outstanding Academic Achievement Award University of Adelaide Australia 2019 Scholarship Adelaide Summer Research Scholarship University of Adelaide Australia 2018 Scholarship Adelaide Summer Research Scholarship University of Adelaide Australia 2018 Award Outstanding Academic Achievement Award University of Adelaide Australia
Language Competency English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
Date Institution name Country Title 2021 University of Adelaide Australia Master of Philosophy (Medicine) 2018 - 2020 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Science (Advanced)
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2022 - ongoing Member SA Westpac Organising Committee Westpac Australia 2022 - ongoing Member Developmental Origins of Health and Disease DOHad Australia
Date Role Membership Country 2022 - ongoing Member DOHaD Australia 2021 - ongoing Member Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology (ASI) Australia
Date Topic Presented at Institution Country 2022 - 2022 Viral mimetic-induced immune activation in the peri-conception period impairs immune tolerance in adult female offspring. Adelaide Immunology Retreat 2022 Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology 2022 - 2021 Maternal immune activation during peri-conception has adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes in late gestation and may alter offspring development. Australian Society for Medical Research South Australian Scientific Meeting 2022 Australian Society for Medical Research 2021 - 2021 Reduced progesterone signalling in the peri-conception phase programs impaired immune tolerance in adult female offspring ESA-SRB-ANZBMS 2021 - SRB Orals: David Healy New Investigator Finalist The Society for Reproductive Biology 2021 - 2021 Reduced progesterone signalling during peri-conception programs a less tolerogenic immune profile in adult female offspring. Adelaide Immunology Retreat Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology
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