Emerging leader in influenza research promoted

Emerging leader in viral pathogenesis and immunology, Dr Michelle Tate has received a promotion to lead her own research group within the Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases.

Dr Tate’s research group, ‘Viral immunity and immunopathology’ will focus on the understanding the induction of hyperinflammation during an influenza virus infection.

“My research aims to better understand the mechanisms that contribute to the induction of hyperinflammation during severe influenza virus infection. This is when the immune system has an overwhelming reaction to infection, resulting in damaging inflammation that can lead to multi-organ failure or respiratory failure,” Dr Tate explained.

Closing the gap

“We have identified a protein of the immune system called the inflammasome, which plays a role in promoting ‘cytokine storm’ and hyperinflammation in severe influenza,” Dr Tate says.

“The drugs and therapies currently available for people who present to hospital with severe influenza infection are limited. We believe that we could target the inflammasome pathway with new drugs to reduce the mortality associated with severe influenza infection.”

Recognition for signification contribution

Dr Tate, an NHMRC Career Development Fellow, was recruited to Hudson Institute in 2011 under the supervision of Professor Paul Hertzog, after completing her PhD studies at the University of Melbourne.

She has made a number of key contributions to the understanding of how innate immune defences modulate disease during influenza virus infection.

Her research has been published in top disciplinary virology, immunology and multidisciplinary journals such as PLoS Pathogens, Journal of Immunology, Immunity, Journal of Virology, eLife and Scientific Reports.

In recognition of her achievements, Dr Tate was awarded an NHMRC project grant as well as NHMRC Early Career and Career Development Fellowships.

Dr Tate has received numerous national and international awards, including the Christina Fleischmann Memorial Award (International Cytokine and Interferon Society 2016), Victorian Infection and Immunity Network Career Development Award (2016) and Commendation Victorian Premier’s Award for Health & Medical Research (2011).

In addition, Dr Tate is a member of the Journal of Virology and Virology Journal editorial boards.

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