Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases

Research Overview

The Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases group seeks to understand the role of the innate immune system in a variety of infectious diseases, including viral hepatitis, septic shock and mycobacterial infections; so that we can better dissect the complex interactions between the host and the innate immune system. More recently we have become increasingly interested and involved in collaborations examining the role of the innate immune system in cancer.

Our ultimate goal is to generate a body of research that will clearly define the role of the innate immune system in these diseases so that we can develop new therapeutics and biomarkers.


  • Narelle Skinner, Senior Research Assistant
  • Mario Congui, Research Officer
  • Jackie Yu, Research Assistant
  • Antony Sutherland, Research Assistant


  • University of Washington, Seattle, USA
  • University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • St Vincent's Health, Melbourne
  • Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne
  • Austin Hospital, Melbourne
  • Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, Melbourne
  • Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney
  • Centenary Institute, Sydney


  1. Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Research ($AUD 180, 000) 'The Innate immunological determinants of spontaneous clearance and reinfection in HIV positive men who have sex with men acutely infected with Hepatitis C', 2013.
  2. National Health and Medical Research Council, ($AUD 491,706) 'Can Hepatitis B therapy enhance the progression to Liver Cancer?', 2011-2013.
  3. National Health and Medical Research Council, ($AUD 575,048) 'Understanding how Golden Staph Causes Disease', 2011-2014.
  4. Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Research ($AUD 165,000) 'Interferon stimulating gene (ISG) induction in the liver of HCV infected patients pre and post treatment', 2013-2015.
  5. National Health and Medical Research Council, ($AUD 504,786) 'Studies of the Role of the Hepatocyte in the Response to HCV Infection', 2013-2015.
  6. National Health and Medical Research Council, ($AUD 513,194) 'Human Amnion Epithelial Cells and Liver Repair', 2014-2016.
  7. National Health and Medical Research Council, ($AUD 1,209,585.10) 'A study of Treatment Discontinuation for Chronic Hepatitis B patients', 2014-2018.

Research Publications

  1. Riordan SM, Skinner N, Nagree, A, McCallum H, McIver CJ, Hamilton JA, Williams R and Visvanathan K. (2003) Peripheral blood mononuclear cell expression of   receptors and relation to cytokine levels in cirrhosis Hepatology 37: 1154-1164
  2. Horn D.L., Morrson D.C., Opal, S.M., Silverstein R., Visvanathan K., Zabriskie J.B. (2000) What are the Microbial components Implicated in the Pathogenesis of Sepsis? Report on a Symposium Clin Inf Dis  31:851-8
  3. Visvanathan K, Skinner N, Locarnini S., Williams R, Riordan SM.(2003) Impaired Toll-like receptor expression in chronic hepatitis B. Hepatology 38: 204-214
  4. Sundararajan, V, MacIsaac, CM, Presneil, J, Cade JM, Visvanathan K (2005)The Epidemiology of Sepsis in Victoria, Australia Crit Care Med 31:71-80
  5. Skinner, NA, MacIsaac, CM, Hamilton JA, and Visvanathan K (2005) Regulation of TLR2 and TLR4 on CD14dim CD16+ monocytes in response to sepsis antigens Clin Exp Immunol 141(2):270-8
  6. Riordan SM, Skinner NA, Kurtovic, Locarnini S, McIver CJ, Williams R  and Visvanathan K  (2006) Toll-like Receptor Expression in Chronic Hepatitis C: Correlation with Pro-inflammatory Cytokine Levels and Liver Injury Inflamm. Res: 279-285
  7. Riordan SM, Skinner N, Kurtovic J, Locarnini S, Visvanathan K. (2006) Reduced expression of toll-like receptor 2 on peripheral monocytes in patients with chronic hepatitis B. Clin Vaccine Immunol 13:972-4.
  8. Visvanathan, K., Skinner, N. A., Thompson, A. J., Riordan, S. M., Sozzi, V., Edwards, R., Rodgers, S., Kurtovic, J., Chang, J., Lewin, S., Desmond, P., Locarnini, S.  (2007).  Regulation of Toll-like receptor-2 expression in chronic hepatitis B by the precore protein.  Hepatology 45:102-110.
  9. Thompson AJ, Nguyen T, Iser D, Ayres A, Jackson K, Littlejohn M, Slavin J, Bowden S, Gane EJ, Abbott W, Lau GK, Lewin SR, Visvanathan K, Desmond PV, Locarnini SA (2010) Serum hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis B e antigen titers: Disease phase influences correlation with viral load and intrahepatic hepatitis B virus markers Hepatology. 2010 Jun;51(6):1933-44.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Group Leader Professor Kumar Visvanathan

Department / Centre

Medicine and Radiology

Unit / Centre

Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases

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