Professor Gabrielle Belz

Chair in Immunology

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
Faculty of Medicine

Overview

Gabrielle Belz originally trained in veterinary medicine and surgery and received her PhD in understanding the organisation of lymphatics and lymphoid tissues at The University of Queensland. After a short stint in Canada to work on B cells, she moved to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital to work with Peter Doherty supported by an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship. Here she established a number of systems that now allow tracking of virus-specific T cells and established the paradigm changing notion that CD4 T cell help was required for generating antiviral responses. She returned to The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and uncovered the identity of the key dendritic cells necessary for initiating antiviral infections. Subsequently she was awarded the Burnet Prize and NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship. Her research contributions have been recognized by a number of awards including a Wellcome Trust Overseas Fellowship, HHMI international fellowship, ARC Future fellowship, Doctor of Veterinary Science and the Gottschalk Medal (Australian Academy of Science). Her laboratory focuses on deciphering the key cellular and transcriptional signals of protective immunity particularly by T cells and in understanding how innate immune cells develop and make novel contributions to mucosal immune defence.

Research Impacts

Overall goals:

Our work aims to understand how the immune system responds to infections including viruses, bacteria and parasites.

We are elucidating how different types of immune cells develop, and what factors influences their decision to become one type of immune cell or another.

Understanding how the body deals with pathogens will give clues about how to enhance protective immunity. Our goal is to discover new therapies that boost our immune system to protect against infection.

Research interests:

Cell differentiation is the process by which cells develop and mature. In this process, cells become more specialised and acquire potent effector functions that allow them to eliminate infectious organisms. There is an urgent need to develop new therapies that focus on augmenting host immunity.

Our research focuses on:

  • Elucidating the mechanisms responsible for the generation of protective immunity in response to lung and gastrointestinal pathogens
  • How protective immunity breaks down in chronic overwhelming infections
  • Identifying factors that can promote host immune responses and potent long-lived protective immunological memory.

We have developed and use a number of in vivo models of infectious diseases including:

  • Influenza
  • Herpes virus
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)

These models provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to examine the mechanisms that these pathogens employ to infect hosts and elicit immune protection or to subvert the host responses. Using a variety of approaches including multiparameter flow cytometry, systems biology and global gene expression profiling we aim to define cellular and transcriptional pathways in normal memory T cell differentiation, innate immune cell subsets and immune failure.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Veterinary Biology, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours Class 1), The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • The picture of the network governing the mucosal immunity and how the different immune populations interplay is only just emerging, but it is already opening a whole new array of exciting possibilities for immune regulation and immunotherapeutic strategies. Our current projects aim to provide a new dimension to this emerging field in understanding how mucosal epithelial cells interact with immune cells to drive mucosal immunosurveillance, homeostasis and immunity. We have developed a number of new tools to dissect this epithelial immune network and understand its regulation in immunity.

  • Our work aims to understand how the immune system responds to infections including viruses, bacteria and parasites. We endeavour to elucidate how different types of immune cells develop, and what factors influences their decision to become one type of immune cell or another. Understanding how the body deals with pathogens will give clues about how to enhance protective immunity. Our goal is to discover new therapies that boost our immune system to protect against infection.

    Our research focuses on:

    • Elucidating the mechanisms responsible for the generation of protective immunity in response to lung and gastrointestinal pathogens including influenza, herpesvirus and intestinal bacterial infections
    • How protective immunity breaks down in chronic overwhelming infections
    • Identifying factors that can promote host immune responses and potent long-lived protective immunological memory

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Seillet, Cyril and Belz, Gabrielle T. (2019). Assessment of gene function of mouse innate lymphoid cells for in vivo analysis using retroviral transduction. In Jürgen Moll and Sebastian Carotta (Ed.), Target identification and validation in drug discovery: methods and protocols 2nd ed. (pp. 231-240) New York, NY USA: Humana Press. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-9145-7_14

  • Belz, Gabrielle T., Rankin, Lucille C., Carotta, Sebastian, Romagnani, Chiara and Huntington, Nicholas D. (2016). Innate lymphoid cells type 3. Encyclopedia of Immunobiology. (pp. 156-168) edited by Michael J.H. Ratcliffe. Cambridge, MA, United States: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-374279-7.04004-2

  • Nutt, Stephen L., Carotta, Sebastian, Kallies, Axel and Belz, Gabrielle T. (2013). Cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer cells. Clinical immunology: principles and practice: fourth edition. (pp. 215-227) Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Inc.. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-7234-3691-1.00015-5

  • Seillet, Cyril and Belz, Gabrielle T. (2013). Terminal differentiation of dendritic cells. Development and Function of Myeloid Subsets. (pp. 185-210) edited by Kenneth M. Murphy and Miriam Merad. Maryland Heights, MO, United States: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-417028-5.00007-7

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Engwerda, Christian and Belz, Gabrielle (2012). 4th Australasian vaccines and immunotherapeutic development meeting. 4th Australasian vaccines and immunotherapeutic development meeting, Oxford, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1038/icb.2012.55

  • Xin, Annie, Nutt, Stephen L., Belz, Gabrielle T. and Kallies, Axel (2011). Blimp1: Driving terminal differentiation to a T. Aegean Conference: 3rd Crossroads between innate and adaptive immunity, Chania, Crete, Greece, 27 September - October 2, 2009. New York, NY, United States: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-5632-3_8

  • Belz, Gabrielle T. and De Groot, Annie (2008). The Sir Mark Oliphant conferences: International frontiers of science and technology. Vaccines and Immunotherapy Technologies Conference, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 9-11 April 2008. Landes Bioscience. doi: 10.4161/hv.4.4.6334

  • Belz, Gabrielle, Britton, Warwick J., Casanova, Jean-Laurent, Foote, Simon, Goodnow, Christopher C., Gros, Philippe, Hume, David, Maizels, Rick M. and Turner, Stephen (2007). Discussion. Symposium on Cortical development: genes and genetic abnormalities, London, United Kingdom, 6–8 February 2007. Chichester, West Sussex United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Alexander, Warren S., Belz, Gabrielle, Britton, Warwick J., Cook, Matthew, Cyster, Jason, Goodnow, Christopher C., Hume, David, Kaufman, Jim, Mackay, Charles, Stacker, Steven and Turner, Stephen (2007). Discussion. Symposium on Cortical development: genes and genetic abnormalities, London, United Kingdom, 6–8 February 2007. Chichester, West Sussex United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Belz, Gabrielle T., Wilson, Nicholas S., Kupresanin, Fiona, Mount, Adele M. and Smith, Christopher M. (2007). Shaping naive and memory Cd8+ T cell responses in pathogen infections through antigen presentation. First Crossroads between Innate and Adaptive Immunity, Rhodes, Greece, October 9–14, 2005 . Boston, MA, United States: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-34814-8_2

  • Wilson, N.S., Villadangos, J.A., El-Sukkari, D. and Belz, G.T. (2003). Most lymphoid organ dendritic cell types are phenotypically and functionally immature. 8th International Workshop on Langerhans Cells, Tokyo, Japan, 5-7 September 2003. Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier.

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • The picture of the network governing the mucosal immunity and how the different immune populations interplay is only just emerging, but it is already opening a whole new array of exciting possibilities for immune regulation and immunotherapeutic strategies. Our current projects aim to provide a new dimension to this emerging field in understanding how mucosal epithelial cells interact with immune cells to drive mucosal immunosurveillance, homeostasis and immunity. We have developed a number of new tools to dissect this epithelial immune network and understand its regulation in immunity.

  • Our work aims to understand how the immune system responds to infections including viruses, bacteria and parasites. We endeavour to elucidate how different types of immune cells develop, and what factors influences their decision to become one type of immune cell or another. Understanding how the body deals with pathogens will give clues about how to enhance protective immunity. Our goal is to discover new therapies that boost our immune system to protect against infection.

    Our research focuses on:

    • Elucidating the mechanisms responsible for the generation of protective immunity in response to lung and gastrointestinal pathogens including influenza, herpesvirus and intestinal bacterial infections
    • How protective immunity breaks down in chronic overwhelming infections
    • Identifying factors that can promote host immune responses and potent long-lived protective immunological memory