Professor Fabienne Mackay, PhD obtained her PhD from Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France working at Hoffman La Roche Ltd in Basel Switzerland. Her past work on the cytokine BAFF, described in very highly cited articles, provided the knowledge foundation for the development of belimumab, an approved treatment for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Her group is focusing on inhibitors for the BAFF receptor TACI to treat SLE and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) while preserving key immune functions. She has published over 170 articles cited 17,000 times (h-index 65) and is the World’s most highly cited author on BAFF. She is the inaugural Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her industry experience includes 5 years at Biogen Inc., USA, co-founder of MabDesign Ltd and consultant to various pharmaceutical and Biotech companies like GSK, Eli Lily, and Board Member of ENA Ltd. She is an inventor on 176 submissions worldwide, representing 5 families of patents.
Professor Jamie Rossjohn, PhD is currently an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow (2017-2021) and was previously a NHMRC Australia Fellow (2011-2016) and ARC Federation Fellow (2007-11). He is the Head of the Infection and Immunity Program of the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash university. Professor Rossjohn is known for his contributions to the understanding the molecular basis underpinning immunity. He has used structural biology to explain pre-T-cell receptor (TCR) self-association in T-cell development, and how the TCR specifically recognises polymorphic Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) molecules in the context of viral immunity and aberrant T-cell reactivity. He has unearthed structural mechanisms of HLA polymorphism impacting on drug and food hypersensitivities, as well as Natural Killer cell receptor recognition. He has pioneered our molecular understanding of lipid-based immunity by T cells, revealing that it can differ fundamentally from peptide-mediated adaptive immunity. Recently he has provided a structural basis of how vitamin B metabolites can be presented and recognised by the immune system, revealing a new class of antigen. Collectively, he has published more than 365 papers and mentored numerous researchers towards obtaining higher degrees and nationally competitive fellowships.
Dr. Shahneen Sandhu is a medical oncologist and researcher in uro-oncology and melanoma units at the Peter MacCallum Centre, Melbourne. She trained at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trusts/Institute of Cancer Research Drug Development Unit, and was responsible for designing, implementing and supervising early phase adaptive, biomarker driven trials. Over the course of her research career, Dr. Sandhu has made important original contributions to cancer research, particularly in the development and application of clinical biomarkers. She continues to undertake first in field clinical and translational research in immuno-oncology in melanoma and prostate cancer.
Professor David Tarlinton, PhD was educated at University of Sydney (BSc) and Stanford University (PhD) before post-doctoral training with Prof. Klaus Rajewsky (Cologne, Germany) and Prof Gus Nossal (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI)). David became an NHMRC Research Fellow and Laboratory Head at WEHI in 1997, subsequently appointed Principal Research Fellow and Professor of the University of Melbourne before being appointed Professor and Head of Department of Immunology and Pathology at Monash University in 2016. David’s scientific work has focused on the differentiation of B lymphocytes, particularly during immune responses and autoimmune diseases. This has led to discoveries in the mechanisms of antibody secreting cell generation and survival during and after immune challenges and in autoimmune diseases. He was President of the Australasian Society for Immunology, recipient of a Distinguished Innovator Award from the Lupus Research Institute (USA), of the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Scientific Research and the Jacques Miller Senior Travel Award and made a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge UK, in 2015.
Associate Professor Joseph (Sefi) Rosenbluh is an expert in functional genomics and has made major contributions in our understanding of cancer signalling pathways as well as the development of high throughput genetic screening technologies. After completing his PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel he moved to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT as a postdoctoral fellow and later as an instructor of medicine. Joseph has recently joined the faculty of Monash university and in addition to heading a research lab he directs a new functional genomics platform at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research. His recent focus has been on developing CRISPR technologies for loss of function screens, and new approaches such as genetic interaction mapping and high throughput RNA sequencing. In total, he has authored 25 research publications, many of which are influential publications in journals such as Cell, Cell Systems, Nature Genetics and Nature Communications.
Professor Nicholas Huntington, PhD (CSO) leads the Cancer Immunology Laboratory at the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University with a joint position at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. During the past 15 years he has made seminal contributions to the field of natural killer (NK) cell biology including: regulatory mechanisms of IL-15 signalling in NK cells, defining the human and murine NK cell differentiation pathways, novel xenograft models to study human NK cell biology and identification of multiple checkpoints in NK cell activation and tumour immunity. Professor Huntington has been recognized as an international leader in NK cell biology through several awards (including; the Burnet Prize, John Dixon Hughes Medal, AAS Jacques Miller Medal, RG Menzies Award, Human Frontiers Science Program Fellowship, NHMRC Fellowship and High Commendation for the Victorian Premier’s Award) and has a track record of commercially licencing NK cell checkpoints.
Jai Rautela, PhD (CEO) obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Melbourne and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, followed by a post-doctoral position at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute under the mentorship of Professor Nicholas Huntington. Jai went on to become the youngest founder of a biotech start-up company in Victoria, and in his scientific role at oNKo-innate he oversees the functional genomic screening and gene-editing programs. As an ambassador for the city through his role in the Committee for Melbourne, Jai also sits on the board and organising committees of various non-profit organisations that deliver healthcare and education to underprivileged members of the local community.