Rossjohn Laboratory

Understanding immune function and dysfunction.

What We Do

The laboratory is currently investigating two broad, yet interrelated areas addressing pivotal molecular interactions in immunity: Our program is inter-linked to create a complete systematic study, namely host recognition, responses developed by the pathogen, and drug design to modulate and/or counteract these events.

Here we aim to provide a fundamental advancement of knowledge of events that are central to innate and adaptive immunity. Understanding the structural and biophysical basis of MHC-restriction, TCR engagement, the structural correlates of T-cell signalling is significant; they represent central questions in the field of adaptive immunity. Moreover, investigating the structural basis of T-cell allorecognition, and T-cell mediated autoimmunity, will collectively provide clear insights into immune dysfunction. In addition, focusing on generic components of innate immunity is important, as the mechanisms underlying innate recognition, is simply unknown.

Our Highlights

Recent Fellowship Success

  • Prof. Jamie Rossjohn Fellow of Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Prof. Jamie Rossjohn Fellow of Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences
  • Dr Jerome Le Nours ARC Future fellow.
  • Prof. Jamie Rossjohn ARC Australian Laureate Fellow
  • Dr Richard Berry NHMRC Career Development Fellow

Academia-Industry

  • Monash and Janssen Multi Year Research Collaboration

Mentorship

  • Future students

Our Current Projects

The academic research program within this laboratory is concerned with defining the key molecular interactiontts underlying receptor recognition events that are the primary determinants of innate and adaptive immunity. The laboratory’s research has provided an understanding of the basis of peptide, metabolite and lipid presentation, T-cell triggering, aberrant T-cell reactivity, monomorphic and polymorphic Natural Killer (NK) receptor recognition. The team’s research on anti-viral immunity has provided an understanding of the factors that shape MHC-restriction (e.g. Immunity, 2003, 2016; Nature Immunol, 2005, 2007, 2015). Moreover, we have demonstrated how the preTCR, a receptor crucial for T-cell development, functions by autonomous dimerization (Nature, 2010). In relation to aberrant T-cell reactivity, our team has provided insight into alloreactivity (Immunity, 2009), Celiac Disease (Immunity, 2012; NSMB, 2014) and HLA-linked drug hypersensitivities (Nature, 2012, NSMB 2014). Regarding innate and innatelike recognition, the team has shed light into how Natural Killer cell receptors interact with their cognate ligands (Nature 2011; J. Exp. Med. 2008 & 2016; Nature Immunol 2013; NSMB 2017; Cell 2017). Further, we have provided fundamental insight into how T cells recognise lipid-based antigens in the context of protective and aberrant immunity (Nature, 2007; Nature Immunol 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016; Nature Comms. 2016). Most recently, our team identified the long sought after ligand for MAIT cells, namely showing that MAIT cells are activated by metabolites of vitamin B (Nature 2012, 2014; Nat Commun 2012; Nat Immunol 2016; Nat Immunol, 2017). The industrial research program of the laboratory includes a close collaboration with Janssen (one of the Pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson), for the development of new therapies to treat rheumatoid arthritis and psorasis.

Research Projects

  • MHC-restricted protective immunity

  • T-cell autoimmunity and alloreactivity

  • HLA-linked drug hypersensitivities

  • Lipid-mediated immunity

  • Metabolite-mediated immunity

  • NK cell recognition

  • T-cell signalling machinery

  • ...and many more

postdoc

Gabby and Erica on ‘Talking Vision’ about the Sensory Scientific Exhibition & Discovery Day

This week we talk science with a conversation with Dr. Gabby Watson and Dr. Erica Tandori from the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University about an open day at the end of May specifically designed for people who are blind or have low vision. The exhibition will include tactile, sound, olfactory and low vision accessible […]

New compound helps activate cancer-fighting T cells

Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are powerful weapons our body’s immune systems count on to fight infection and combat diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and lupus. Finding ways to spark these potent cells into action could lead to more effective cancer treatments and vaccines. While several chemical compounds have shown promise stimulating iNKT cells in […]

Jamie receives 2018 ASBMB Lemberg Medal

This prestigious medal honours Professor Rossjohn’s significant and sustained contributions to the understanding of the molecular basis underpinning immunity. Awarded annually, the Lemberg Medal is presented in memory of Emeritus Professor M.R. Lemberg, who was the Society’s first President and Honorary Member. Only three other scientists from Monash University have won this Medal. Professor Rossjohn […]

Could people living with coeliac disease one day be able to have their cake and eat it, too?

“If the stomach be irretentive of the food and if it pass through undigested and crude, and nothing ascends into the body, we call such persons coeliacs.” Although coeliac disease is fairly common, affecting about one in 70 people of European descent, it’s still challenging to diagnose and treat. It’s best known for its classic digestive symptoms – […]