Dr Michelle Wykes
Michelle Wykes is Group Leader of the Molecular Immunology Laboratory at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane. She studies the mechanisms by which Plasmodium spp, which cause malaria, are able to evade immunity. Her research has predominantly focussed on understanding the role DCs play in the pathogenesis of malaria. Her group has shown how Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2 (both expressed on dendritic cells) drive chronic and severe malaria. Her group recently published a paradigm–shifting study which showed PD-L2 has a regulatory role in mediating immunity. They showed PD-L2 is crucial for establishing effective CD4+ Th1 immunity and designed a novel form of soluble PD-L2 which cures malaria and protects against re-infection, 150 days after the original infection. This line of research, published recently in Immunity, has potential to be used as a novel therapeutic for malaria, other infectious diseases, as well as cancer.
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