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Our Group is drawn from a diversity of backgrounds with a shared passion for studying the biology, immunology and countermeasures for pathogenic viruses.

The Team

To learn more about our researchers and current research programs, be sure to check out their individual profile pages


Head, Clinical Immunology Lab

Professor Stephen Kent trained as an infectious diseases physician and viral immunologist in Melbourne and the USA. He is a National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Principal Research Fellow. Several vaccine concepts tested in his lab have shown sufficient promise to progress into human clinical trials. Stephen remains active in infectious diseases clinical medicine at the Alfred Hospital and Melbourne Sexual Health Centre. He is proud to lead a team of gifted scientists studying viral immunity.


Head, Humoral Immunity Lab

Adam has a long standing interest in understanding the development and regulation of humoral immunity to vaccines and viral infections. After a PhD at the University of Melbourne, and post-doctoral training at the Vaccine Research Center, NIH, he returned to the Doherty Institute in 2015. His team are actively researching antibody and B cell immunobiology, in particular mechanisms that might inform the development of broad and lasting vaccine-elicited protection against influenza or SARS-CoV-2.


Head, Antiviral T cell Lab

Jennifer is an early career researcher with a strong interest in non-conventional and CD4 T cell immunology in the context of infectious disease. She completed her PhD in HIV immunology in 2014 at the University of Manitoba, Canada, followed by a fellowship at the Public Health Agency of Canada. In 2016, she moved to Melbourne and has established a team to study the role for T cells in modulating protective immunity to viral and other chronic infections.


Senior Researcher

Hyon Xhi focuses on immunology, mainly investigating adaptive immune responses against influenza. Using a combination of precise microscopy imaging and flow cytometry, he examines factors that enhance B cell responses in mucosal tissues such as the lung, which can act as a first line of defence against recurring influenza or SARS-CoV-2 infections.


Senior Researcher

Dr Lee was awarded his PhD in 2019, on studies investigating whether antibodies that mediate antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) could be utilised for an HIV cure. Dr Lee continues his work on ADCC antibodies against HIV and has recently pivoted to work on COVID-19, studying neutralising antibody responses and antibody Fc-mediated effector functions against SARS-CoV-2.


Senior Researcher

Marios completed his BSc in Biomedical Sciences at Imperial College in London, working with Professor Wendy Barclay on the molecular virology of influenza B viruses. Marios subsequently undertook a PhD at the University of Melbourne, focusing on understanding protective immunity to influenza viruses. Marios now works on the pre-clinical development of universal influenza vaccines and immunity to influenza B viruses.


Mai Vu


Mai did her B. Pharm degree in Hanoi, Vietnam and did a MSc at Monash pharmacy. She recently completed a PhD at Monash Pharmacy in Parkville and joins the group to develop next-generation mRNA and nanoparticle vaccines to boost global pandemic preparedness efforts.

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Lara Schwab


Lara participated in the International Research Training Group, a PhD program between the University of Melbourne and the University of Bonn/Germany and was awarded her joint PhD degree in 2022. She was focusing on evaluating the antiviral activity of RIG-I agonists in different models of respiratory viral infections. Lara recently joined the group to expand upon her interests in viral respiratory diseases and will work on influenza B virus virology and immunology.


Chris Gonelli


Chris completed his PhD in our department on various vaccine projects and has been working as a post doc at the NIH’s Vaccine Research Centre. He returns to Australia to work with Adam on a range on monoclonal antibody projects.

Research Assistants

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Rosela Webster


Rosie conducted her PhD with the Tarlinton lab at Monash and joined us to work with Adam and Hyon-Xhi on B cell immunity to pandemic viruses.

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Mitchell Zheng


Mitchell conducted his PhD with Linda Wakim and Pat Reading at the Doherty Institute and joined us to work with Jen Juno and her team on T cell immunity to pandemic pathogens.

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Palak Mehta


Palak completed a Masters in Wellington NZ and then a PhD with Kylie Quinn at RMIT on CAR T cells. She joins Jen to work on understanding T cell responses to vaccination in clinical cohorts


Thakshila Amarasena

Thakshila is an experienced technical scientist helping with our studies of viral quantification, sequencing and flow cytometry. She obtained her science degree in Sri Lanka and is a very experienced laboratory scientist. She is also our diligent safety and compliance officer.


Robyn Esterbauer

Robyn completed a BSc (Honors) in our department in 2016 topping her honors class. She has previously worked in several IT areas and brings a wide range of skills to our lab. She is working with Adam on several influenza immunity projects and is a very valued team member.

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Lauren Burmas

Lauren completed her Honours year with the lab in 2022, and now joins the team as an RA. Her Honours project focused on immune responses to protein vaccines in pre-clinical animal models. She will assist with multiple immunology projects in the lab while developing her skills in flow cytometry and molecular biology.


Andrew Kelly

Andrew joined the lab in 2021 and works with Robyn to oversee antibody and recombinant protein expression for the lab.

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Julie Nguyen

Julie completed honours in 2021. She originally came from a cancer background and was a part of the Peter Mac Summer Scholarship Program. She is now working with Hyon-Xhi and Jen on several immunisation and immunology projects. She manages our clinical sample processing and storage for a wide variety of clinical trials.

Graduate Researchers


Kirsty Field

Kirsty obtained her BSc at Melbourne University majoring in Microbiology and Immunology and joined us as an honors student in 2020 working with Jen and Kathleen on how to get the most out of gamma-delta T cells for use as immunotherapy for HIV. She obtained excellent marks for her honors projects despite COVID interruptions and started a PhD with Jen in 2021.


Devaki Pilapitiya

Devaki obtained her BSc (hons) from the University of Auckland in 2017 and then worked as a research assistant studying virulence factors of Group A Streptococci. She started a PhD with Adam and Hyon-Xhi in 2021 on nanoparticle vaccines.


Thu Do

Thu hails from Vietnam and recently completed a successful MSc with the Rossjohn group at Monash. She started a PhD with Marios on Influenza B projects

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Veronica Zoest

Nicky completed her undergraduate BSc honours at the University of Auckland and has been working on studying Mycobacterial infections in NZ. She joined us in 2023 to do a PhD studying immunity to pandemic vaccines in a range of models.

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Yee-Chen Liu

Yee-Chen completed her DVM and MSc in Taiwan and has been working in Avian disease laboratories. She joined us to do a PhD with our team on vaccines and immunity to pandemic viral pathogens.

Administrative Staff


Jane Batten

Jane is a former research scientist who worked with us for many years prior to having children. She rejoined the group part time in 2015 to help us manage our large research enterprise.

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Janavi Rambhatla

Janavi completed her Ph.D. in 2019 on malaria immunity from the University of Melbourne. She joined our lab in 2021 as a Senior Project Officer to work with Stephen, Adam and Jen to manage clinical development of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.

Alumni and Honorary Members


Dr. David (Yi) Ju


David is a postdoctoral fellow in Frank Caruso’s group at the Dept of Chemical Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He is interested in nanoparticle-immune cell interactions within our ARC Centre of Excellence in nanomedicine. He did his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Tianjin China and a MSc and PhD at the University of Melbourne. He is working with us on several collaborative projects around immune-cell targeting and cancer-cell targeting nanoparticles. Visit his website here

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Prof David O'Connor

University of Wisconsin

Dave is a full professor at the University of Wisconsin and an expert in viral and immunology genetics. He spent 11 months with the Kent lab as a visiting Miegunyah professor at UoM on sabattical. He continues to collaborate with our group and retains an honorary position with us. Visit his website here


Assoc Prof Shelby O'Connor

University of Wisconsin

Shelby is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin and an expert in viral immunology and viral dynamics. She spent 11 months with the Kent lab at UoM on sabattical. She continues to collaborate with the Kent/Juno/Chung groups and we hold a joint NIH grant together. Visit her website here


Dr. Matthew Parsons

Emory University

Dr Matt Parsons completed his PhD at McGill in Canada in 2012 and joined us in November 2012. He is an expert in NK cell biology and HIV. He spent 6 months with us during his PhD, which was very stimulating and highly productive. He supervised PhD students Wen Shi Lee and Kevin John Selva and Research Assistant Anne Kristensen. He was recruited to Emory University in the USA and remains as an honorary staff member.


Dr. Hillary Vanderven

James Cook University

Hillary completed her MSc at the University of Alberta in Canada in 2011 and worked as a research assistant, laboratory coordinator and lecturer after that. She moved to Melbourne and started a PhD with us in 2014 studying ADCC immunity to influenza. She has studied ADCC immunity to internal influenza proteins, to H7N9 pandemic influenza and in response to vaccination of the elderly. She finished her PhD and was recruited to James Cook University in 2018.


Hannah Kelly

John Curtin School of Medical Research

Hannah completed her PhD in 2021 in our lab, and stayed on as a post-doctoral researcher to pursue her interests in nanoparticle vaccine platforms and their interactions with immune cells in the blood and lymph nodes. She is now a post-doc at the John Curtin School of Medical Research in Canberra

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