Keynote Speakers

Welcome to the official website of The Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology (ASI) 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting! We are delighted to present our lineup of esteemed speakers who will be joining us for this prestigious event. Prepare to be inspired by their ground-breaking research and invaluable contributions to the field of immunology. Here are just a few of our distinguished speakers: These speakers collectively cover a wide range of expertise areas within
immunology, including T-cell responses, antibody production, viral pathogenesis, respiratory infections, mRNA-based therapies, innate immune signalling, mucosal immune responses, inflammatory diseases, helminth infections, germinal centre responses, skin immune responses, and cellular immunotherapy. Their research contributions greatly contribute to advancing our understanding of immunological processes and developing innovative approaches to combat diseases.

Carolyn King

Carolyn received her B.S. in biology from Duke University and her PhD in immunology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied the role of TRAF6 in T cell tolerance.  After a postdoctoral fellowship studying the impact of T cell receptor singling on asymmetric cell division and fate, Carolyn started her independent group at the University of Basel.  The King lab focuses on understanding the molecular underpinnings of CD4 T cell responses during infection with a focus on T cells that support antibody production by B cells.  More recently this work has expanded to investigate how antibodies and macrophage remodelling intersect to modulate pulmonary immunity to globally relevant pathogens including influenza and tuberculosis.

Adrian Liston

Adrian Liston is Professor of Pathology at Department of Pathology. Liston trained at Adelaide University before a PhD at the Australian National University, and a post-doc at the University of Washington, with additional degrees in Higher Education and Public Health. Liston started his career as an independent researcher at the VIB and University of Leuven in Belgium, where he ran a lab with Dr James Dooley for 10 years (2009-2018) before moving the lab to the Babraham Institute in 2019. Between 2019 and 2023, the Liston-Dooley lab worked on biotechnology developments in neuroinflammation, developing new therapeutic approaches and setting up a spin-off company Aila Biotech Ltd. In 2023, the Liston-Dooley laboratory relocated to the Department of Pathology, where Liston took up the position of Professor of Pathology.

Dr. Bjorkman

Dr. Bjorkman is the David Baltimore Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at Caltech and a Merkin Institute Professor. Her laboratory does basic and translational research to understand immune recognition of viral pathogens. They\ are particularly interested in understanding antibody responses against viruses in order to develop improved therapeutics and potential vaccines. As part of their approach, they investigate the structural correlates of broad and/or potent antibody-mediated neutralization of HIV-1, SARS-CoV-2, Zika, and hepatitis C virus.

Jodi McGill

Jodi McGill received her M.S. in Pathology in 2007 and Ph.D. in Immunology in 2010, both from the University of Iowa. She did her postdoctoral fellowship at the National Animal Disease Center, USDA under the guidance of Dr. Randy Sacco and Dr. Ray Waters studying the immune response to respiratory infections in cattle. Jodi is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine at Iowa State University. The focus of Dr. McGill’s research is to understand the immune response to respiratory infections, and to develop intervention strategies to promote protective immunity in the respiratory tract. The McGill lab has a One Health approach, exploring the immune system in multiple animal models to benefit both human and animal health. She currently studies the immune response to several viral and bacterial pathogens that cause bovine respiratory disease complex in cattle. Jodi was the 2020 recipient of the Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence at ISU. She was awarded the John G. Salsbury Endowed Chair in Veterinary Medicine in 2021. Dr. McGill’s research has been supported by private industry, not-for-profit research foundations and federal research dollars from the USDA and National Institutes of Health. Jodi is past President of the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists, sits on the Veterinary Immunology Committee for the American Association of Immunologists and is on the program committee for the Conference for Research Workers in Animal Diseases. Dr. McGill currently serves as the Assistant Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Veterinary Medicine at ISU.

Dr. Philip J. Santangelo

Dr. Philip J. Santangelo is a Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, at Emory University and Georgia Tech.  My background, PhD in Engineering from University of California, Davis, is a diverse mixture of engineering, physics, chemistry and biology, with an emphasis on working at the interface of multiple disciplines. My research interests are focused on the development of novel imaging probes, the pathogenesis of viruses, and the development of mRNA-based therapies and vaccines. In the area of novel imaging probes, the first PET contrast agent for SIV and SHIV infections was developed in my lab, as well as the application of PET imaging to the interrogation of mRNA-based vaccines. In the field of mRNA-based therapeutics, my lab has spearheaded the development of a molecular toolbox for characterizing mRNA delivery and the development of new applications of mRNA, including the delivery of mRNA-encoded antibodies and CRISPR proteins systemically and to mucosal interfaces, with an emphasis on the lung and female reproductive tract.

Jon Kagan

Jon Kagan is a world leader in defining the molecular and cellular pathways by which the innate immune system recognizes infection and tissue injury. He has worked at
the interface of host-microbe interactions for over 25 years, first as a trainee at Yale and since 2007 at Harvard. At Harvard, he runs a research lab based in Boston Children’s Hospital. He is the Marian R. Neutra, PhD Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and the director of Basic Research and Shwachman Chair in Gastroenterology at Boston Children’s Hospital. Kagan’s primary research interest is to understand the molecular basis of inflammation. He has made significant discoveries in this area, most notably in the inflammatory pathways stimulated by Toll-like Receptors (TLR), RIG-I like Receptors (RLR), cGAS-STING and inflammasomes. Each of these pathways are key to the induction of anti-infection and anti-tumor immunity. More broadly, his work helped establish a comprehensive map of the subcellular sites of innate immune signaling. This map serves as the foundation of our understanding of the earliest stages of immune activation. He is the co-founder of Corner Therapeutics, where he serves as an advisor. Kagan has also advised several other companies in the immunotherapy space, including IFM Therapeutics, Neumora Therapeutics and Larkspur Biosciences.

Kagan’s work has been recognized with awards from the American Association of Immunologists, the Burroughs Welcome Fund and the International Endotoxin and Innate Immunity Society. He was a National Finalist for the Blavatnik Laureate in Life Sciences and a semi-finalist in the 2014 HHMI Investigator competition. Dr. Kagan is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Kiyoshi Takeda

Kiyoshi Takeda graduated from Osaka University School of Medicine in 1992 and conducted his PhD work at the Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University under the supervision of Prof. Shizuo Akira. He was an assistant professor at Hyogo College of Medicine, and Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, where he worked on Toll-like receptor-dependent pathogen recognition mechanisms. In 2003, he became a professor at Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, and then moved to Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University in 2007. Now, he is a director and professor at Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka University. His research activity is focused on understanding the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases, particularly the analysis of how intestinal homeostasis is maintained by mucosal immune cells and epithelial cells. He is also analyzing how microbiota resides in the intestine without evoking inflammatory responses and influences the host’s health.

Dr. Elia Tait Wojno

Dr. Elia Tait Wojno pursues a passion for immunology research as an Associate Professor in the University of Washington Department of Immunology. Elia received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, working with Dr. Christopher Hunter in the School of Veterinary Medicine to examine how cytokines regulate immunity to the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. She went on complete a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. David Artis in the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College, focusing on innate immune responses during helminth infection and allergic disease. At UW, she continues her work in dissecting innate and adaptive immune responses during helminth parasite infection and allergy, with a special emphasis on the role of cytokines and prostaglandins. Her work aims to inform efforts to develop new therapies and vaccines to combat parasite infection and limit allergic inflammation.

Michela Locci

Michela Locci graduated magna cum laude in Biotechnology from the University of Bologna (Italy), and received her Ph.D. in Immunology and Applied Biotechnology from Tor Vergata University (Italy). After her postdoctoral training in Dr. Shane Crotty’s group (USA), she joined the University of Pennsylvania (USA) as an Assistant Professor of Microbiology in 2018. Her research is focused on the biology of T follicular helper (Tfh) cells and regulation of germinal center (GC) responses following vaccination and infection. Dr. Locci’s work has contributed to our current understanding of the nature of memory Tfh cells, the processes regulating the differentiation of Tfh cells as well as the quantitative and qualitative features of Tfh and GC B cell responses elicited by messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. Currently, major efforts in the Locci lab are aimed at shedding light on the immunological mechanism of mRNA vaccines.

Graham Ogg

Graham Ogg is Professor of Dermatology at the MRC Human Immunology Unit at the University of Oxford. Research and clinical work are based on the investigations of mechanisms of disease pathogenesis of the patients he sees with inflammatory skin disease. Graham is interested in the translation of new insights underlying tissue immune responses, including T cell interactions in skin. The primary area of focus is on the role of CD1a-reactive lipid-specific T cells in skin disease pathogenesis with progression of approaches to target the pathway therapeutically.

Megan K. Levings

Dr. Megan Levings is a Professor in the Department of Surgery and School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of British Columbia and BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Her lab studies how a special kind of white blood cell, known as a T regulatory cell, could be used as a cellular therapy to stop harmful immune responses. She is internationally recognized in the field of human immunology and leads a vibrant group of trainees and staff who are researching how to use T regulatory cells to replace conventional immunosuppression in the context of transplantation and autoimmunity. She has won numerous awards, including 2020 YWCA Woman of Distinction, Science, Research & Technology, 2022 Simon Fraser University Outstanding Alumni award, and 2022 UBC Faculty of Medicine Distinguished Researcher in the Basic/Foundational Science Category.