Speaker: Dr Isaac G Sakala, Research Scientist, Vaxine Pty Ltd, Flinders Medical Centre
Title: Use of microparticulate inulin (AdvaxTM) as an innovative adjuvant for neonatal influenza vaccine
Chair: Professor Eric Gowans, Head of Virology Group, Discipline of Surgery, University of Adelaide. Located Level 1 BHI, TQEH. [email protected]
Speaker biography: Dr Isaac G. Sakala is a Zambian-born and Australian-trained immunologist. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences (BMedSci) at the University of Zambia School of Medicine, Lusaka, Zambia. From early in his career he had an interest in immunology/vaccinology of infectious disease and wanted to work specifically on viruses because viral infections contribute significantly to the global burden of disease. Isaac won an Australian National University scholarship to undertake MPhil/PhD studies in viral immunology at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Canberra. He obtained his PhD in 2008, and in recognition of research was awarded the prestigious 2008 Alan and Elizabeth Finkel Prize.
In 2009 Isaac took up a post-doctoral position with Saint Louis University in Missouri (USA), where he researched how human unconventional γ9δ2 T cells are important for protective immunity against mycobacteria and influenza virus. The work of Isaac and his colleagues showed that at least one important protective mechanism is the production of granzyme A, which did not induce apoptosis in target cells, but inflammatory responses that result in inhibition of intracellular mycobacterial growth. In 2012 Isaac went on and did a second post-doctoral fellowship with Washington University in Saint Louis and studied the role of mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells in mycobacterial immunity. In this work, Isaac demonstrated diversity of MAIT cells, and provided evidence that NK1.1 expressed on MAIT cells is an activation rather than developmental marker, and also that these unconventional αβ T cells are important for protective immunity against tuberculosis.
Isaac returned to Australia in 2015 and has since been employed as a research scientist to develop neonatal influenza vaccines at Vaxine Pty Ltd at Flinders Medical Centre. During this presentation, Isaac will discuss the use of a polysaccharide-based adjuvant as an innovative strategy for developing efficacious neonatal influenza vaccine.