• About
  • People
  • Projects
  • Key Publications
  • Funding
  • Collaborations

The Viral Immunology Group moved to the Basil Hetzel Institute in January 2010. Professor Eric Gowans and Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk have remained with the group since this time while other original lab members have taken other positions or graduated and accepted positions as post-doctoral researchers around the world. Our current members are listed under the “People” tab.

Our research is focussed on novel strategies to develop vaccines for hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Consequently, the work involves aspects of:

  • molecular biology to generate recombinant DNA vaccines and recombinant viral vector vaccines
  • classical virology to culture and quantitate recombinant viruses, and
  • immunology to assess the efficacy of the experimental vaccines in animal models

Interested, dedicated postgraduate students who wish to study virology and/or immunology are welcome to join our group. We have 5 PhD students from many regions of the world and thus are truly multicultural.

Community Engagement

Read about the our group’s research in stories on The Hospital Research Foundation website:

Watch the video “Vaccination STEM Careers” on the RiAUS Science Channel with former lab member Dr Danushka Wijesundara explaining some aspects of our research.

Researchers

Students

Student Alumni since 2016

 
NameDegreeAwardedThesis titleSupervisorsScholarship
Emerance IshimweHonours, University of Adelaide2019Vaccination studies to elicit non-canonical neutralising antibodies to HIVProf Eric Gowans, Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk and Dr Dan WijesundaraThe Hospital Research Foundation Honours Scholarship
Zelalem MekonnenPhD, University of Adelaide2019Pre-Clinical Evaluation of a Vaccination Strategy to Induce Liver Resident Memory T Cells against Hepatitis C VirusProf Eric Gowans, Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk and Dr Dan WijesundaraUniversity of Adelaide Overseas Postgraduate Scholarship
Makutiro MasavuliPhD, University of Adelaide2018Novel DNA vaccine formulations against Hepatitis C VirusProf Eric Gowans, Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk and Dr Dan WijesundaraUniversity of Adelaide full divisional scholarship
Jason GummowPhD, University of Adelaide2017 (Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence)DNA vaccine targeting and immunomodulationProf Eric Gowans & Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk
Khamis TomusangePhD, University of Adelaide2016Systemic and mucosal immunity to HIVProf Eric Gowans, Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk & Dr Dan WijesundaraThe Hospital Research Foundation International Scholarship
Harshwadhan JagdaleMResearch, University of Adelaide2016Production and characterisation of recombinant porcine adenovirusesProf Eric Gowans, Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk & Dr Dan WijesundaraAustralian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology Award

Honours and Postgraduate Student Projects for 2020
The Viral Immunology Group has a number of student projects available for potential Honours, Masters and PhD studies. The chosen project will cover vaccine development in the areas of HIV, Zika virus or Hepatitis C with options for industry collaborations. Please contact branka.grubor@adelaide.edu.au if you have any further questions.
HCV vaccine design
  • DNA and recombinant viral vector vaccines as therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines
  • DNA delivery
  • DNA as a cytolytic vaccine
  • DNA vaccines designed to generate HCV virus-like particles
  • Immunological analysis of the efficacy of HCV vaccines
HIV vaccine design
  • DNA and recombinant viral vector vaccines as prophylactic vaccines
  • Recombinant human rhinoviruses as a novel vaccine for HIV
  • Immunological analysis of the efficacy of HIV vaccines
Induction of antigen-positive cell death by the overexpression of Perforin, but not Diphtheria Toxin A, from a DNA vaccine enhances anti-viral immune responses

Gargett T, Grubor-Bauk B, Garrod TJ, Yu W, Miller D, Major L, Wesselingh S, Suhrbier A, Gowans EJ. Induction of antigen-positive cell death by the overexpression of Perforin, but not Diphtheria Toxin A, from a DNA vaccine enhances anti-viral immune responses. Immunology and Cell Biology; 2014. 92: 359-367.

A novel challenge model to evaluate the efficacy of hepatitis C virus vaccines in mice

Yu W, Grubor-Bauk B, Gargett T, Garrod T, Gowans EJ. A novel challenge model to evaluate the efficacy of hepatitis C virus vaccines in mice. Vaccine; 2014 Jun 5. 32(27):3409-16. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.04.014. Epub 2014 Apr 16.

Improved vaccine potency of DNA vaccines which encode membrane-bound or secreted forms of heat shock protein 70

Garrod TJ, Grubor-Bauk B, Gargett T, Li Y, Miller DS, Yu W, Major L, Burrell CJ, Wesselingh S, Suhrbier A, Gowans EJ. Improved vaccine potency of DNA vaccines which encode membrane-bound or secreted forms of heat shock protein 70. European Journal of Immunology; 2014 Apr 10. doi: 10.1002/eji.201343983. [Epub ahead of print]

Engineering human rhinovirus serotype A1 as a vaccine vector

Tomusange K, Yu W, Suhbier A, Wijesundara D, Grubor-Bauk B, Gowans EJ. Engineering human rhinovirus serotype A1 as a vaccine vector. Virus Res; 2015. 203: 72-76.

A multi-antigenic DNA vaccine that induces broad HCV-specific T-cell responses in mice

Gummow J, Li Y, Yu W, Garrod T, Wijesundara D, Mullick R, Brennan AJ, Voskoboinik I, Grubor-Bauk B, and Gowans EJ. A multi-antigenic DNA vaccine that induces broad HCV-specific T-cell responses in mice. J Virol; 2015. 89: 7991-8002.

Intradermal delivery of DNA encoding HCV NS3 and perforin elicits robust cell mediated immunity in mice and pigs

Grubor-Bauk B, Yu W, Wijesundara D, Gummow J , Garrod T, Brennan AJ, Voskoboinik I, Gowans EJ. Intradermal delivery of DNA encoding HCV NS3 and perforin elicits robust cell mediated immunity in mice and pigs. Gene Ther; 2016. 23 (1): 26-37.

Chief InvestigatorsGranting BodyProject TitleTotal Grant AmountFunding Period
Grubor-Bauk BMid Career Fellowship, The Hospital Research FoundationNeutralizing the menace of Zika virus$480,0002020 - 2022
Masavuli MEarly Career Fellowship, The Hospital Research FoundationHepatitis C virus (HCV) challenge in vaccinated HCV-permissive transgenic mice$240,0002020 - 2021
Grubor-Bauk B, Prow N, Robertson SA, Hayball J, Wijesundara D, Gowans EChannel 7 Children's Research Foundation/The Hospital Research FoundationMaternal immunisation with a novel Zika vaccine to protect offspring from congenital Zika syndrome$200,0002020
Wijesundara WK, Gowans EJ, Robertson S, Grubor-Bauk B, Shrestha AChannel 7 Children's Research Foundation/The Hospital Research FoundationA pre-clinical evaluation of an innovative DNA based vaccination regimen to protect women of childbearing age against the Zika virus during sexual transmission$240,0002019 - 2020
Grubor-Bauk B, Wijesundara WK, Gowans EJCommercial Accelerator Scheme - The University of Adelaide/The Hospital Research FoundationA novel vaccine against Zika virus$200,0002019
Grubor-Bauk BThe University of Adelaide/The Hospital Research FoundationResearch Support Barbara Kidman Fellowship$60,0002019
Kopecki Z, Grubor-Bauk B, Wijesundara D, Fenix K, Cowin ANew Adventures Fund Grant, University of South AustraliaIdentify a diagnostic marker for psoriasis$28,6192018 - 2019
Gowans EJ, Wijesundara D, Maddern GThe Hospital Research FoundationTest the protective efficacy of a HCV DNA vaccine in an animal model$200,0002018 - 2019
Gowans E, Grubor-Bauk B, Eyre N, Wijesundara DACH2Examine the protection afforded in vaccinated mice against HCV infection$88,0002018
Kopecki Z, Grubor-Bauk B, Wijesundara D, Fenix K, Cowin ANew Adventures Fund Grant, University of South Australia Identify a diagnostic marker for psoriasis$18,1932018
Kopecki Z, Grubor-Bauk B, Wijesundara D, Fenix K, Cowin AThe Hospital Research Foundation Leverage funding for UniSA New Adventures Fund grantIdentify a diagnostic marker for psoriasis$10,0002018
Shrestha AThe Hospital Research Foundation Early Career FellowshipThe development of novel cytolytic DNA vaccine which elicits cellular immunity to conserved viral proteins$240,0002017 - 2019
Gowans EJ, Wijesundara D, Maddern GThe Hospital Research FoundationThe protective efficacy of cytolytic DNA vaccine for HCV in marmosets: a step towards human clinical trials$50,0002017 - 2018
Wijesundara DThe Hospital Research Foundation: Equipment grantFlowJo software$7,3812017
Gowans EJThe Hospital Research FoundationA DNA vaccine to induce protective neutralizing antibodies to the HIV Tat$80,0002017
Gowans EJ, Grubor-Bauk B, Wijesundara DNational Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation (NFMRI) Portfolio 1 grantA DNA vaccine for Zika virus$293,0002015 - 2019
Gowans EJ, Grubor-Bauk B, Wijesundara DAustralian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis VirologyA multigenotypic HCV DNA Vaccine$85,0002016 - 2017
Wijesundara DThe Hospital Research Foundation Early Career FellowshipExoploiting cytolytic adjuvants and novel recombinant viral vaccines as a way forward for HIV-1 and HCV vaccine design$480,0002015 - 2018
Gowans EJ, Torresi J, Das SAISRF Approaches to develop an effective HCV vaccine $200,000 2015 – 2016

Torresi J, Gowans EJNHMRC (#1060436)
A quadrivalent vaccine for hepatitis C $450,000 2014 – 2016
Gowans EJ, Roberts-Thomson I, Grubor-Bauk BThe Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) DNA vaccine therapy for HCV $300,000 2014 – 2015

Gowans EJ, Grubor-Bauk BThe Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Optimisation of HCV vaccine design $100,000 2014

Gowans EJ, Wesselingh SNHMRC Mucosal immunity to HIV $188,000pa2012 - 2014

Gowans EJ, Grubor-Bauk BACH2 Development of a cytolytic HCV vaccine and a novel challenge model to test efficacy $174,000 2012 – 2013

Gowans EJ, Torresi J, Das SAustralia-India Biotechnology Fund A vaccine for hepatitis C virus $100,000pa2011 – 2013

Gowans EJ, Roberts SK, Loveland BNHMRC A new HCV cell therapy $164,749pa2009 – 2011

Gowans EJ, Loveland BNHMRC A novel HCV vaccine $151,000pa2009 – 2011

Gowans EJ, Netter HJARCAntiviral compounds to inhibit the replicase of hepatitis C virus $55,000pa2008 – 2010

CollaboratorInstitutionCityCountry
Associate Professor Michael Beard, Dr Nicholas Eyre, Professor Sarah RobertsonUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
Professor John Hayball, Dr Natalie Prow, Dr Zlatko Kopecki, Dr Krasimir VasilevUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
Associate Professor Jill CarrFlinders University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
Associate Professor Charani RanasingheAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
Professor Heidi DrummerBurnet InstituteMelbourneAustralia
Associate Professor Joseph TorresiDoherty InstituteMelbourneAustralia
Professor David BowenCentenary InstituteSydneyAustralia
Rowena Bull, Andrew LloydUniversity of NSWSydneyAustralia
Dr Andrew LeishmanN4PharmaDerbyUK
Dr Peter Abbink, Professor Dan BarouchHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
David HipkissEnesipharmaAbingdonUK
Ashley St JohnDuke-NUSSingaporeSingapore
Dave O'ConnorUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA