Professor Jennifer Stow

Professorial Research Fellow - GL

Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Affiliated Professor

School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
j.stow@imb.uq.edu.au
+61 7 334 62159
+61 7 334 62034

Overview

Professor Jennifer Stow is a molecular cell biologist and head of the Protein Trafficking and Inflammation research laboratory in The University of Queensland’s, Institute of Molecular Bioscience (IMB). Professor Stow received her undergraduate and PhD qualifications at Melbourne’s Monash University before undertaking postdoctoral training in the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University School of Medicine, USA. Her first faculty appointment was in the Renal Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston USA, where her research uncovered new roles for a class of enzymes, GTPases, in regulating how proteins are trafficked within cells. Jenny moved her research back to Australia, to The University of Queensland, in late 1994 where her research has continued to uncover molecules and cellular pathways important in immune cells for triggering inflammation, cancer and chronic disease. Her research uses cutting-edge microscopy and live cell imaging and she collaborates nationally and internationally to advance these technologies. Professor Stow has been awarded eight career fellowships including from American Heart Association, Wellcome Trust and NHMRC. She has published >160 papers, cited over 11,500 times and she is the recipient of awards and honours. She has previously served as Division head and Deputy Director (Research) at IMB, she currently serves on national and international advisory boards, editorial boards and steering committees and she is an elected Associate Member of EMBO.

Specifically, research in the Stow laboratory is currently identifying the molecules, cell compartments and pathways that activate immune cells, like macrophages. Inflammatory responses triggered in these cells are important for fighting infection, but uncontrolled inflammation is a major underlying factor in many inflammatory and chronic diseases and cancer. Our research has described how macrophages traffic and secrete inflammatory cytokines or chemical messengers, including through GTPase regulation, and how receptor signalling modulates the cytokine program to control inflammation. These insights reveal new strategies for future control of inflammation through new or existing drugs.

Research Interests

  • Controlling Inflammation: Receptor Signalling and Cytokine Secretion.
    Immune cells like macrophages are activated by contact with pathogens and other stimuli, triggering protective immune and inflammatory responses. Signalling pathways generated by macrophage Toll-like receptors (TLRs) elicit the synthesis and secretion of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines instruct other cells to mount either anti-microbial attack responses, followed by tissue repair responses, that over time, control and suppress inflammation. Disrupting the finely tuned TLR signalling pathways and release of cytokines leads to the inflammatory tissue damage that accompanies many chronic diseases. Our research investigates the roles of TLR signalling regulators, including coreceptors, signalling adaptors, lipid kinases and GTPases that help to bias and control cytokine programming. While current therapies target the cytokines themselves, our research is generating strategies to target additional regulatory molecules to control inflammation in disease.
  • Cellular Pathways to and from the Cell Surface.
    Cells have intimate contact with their tissue environments and each other through many cell surface projections and trafficking pathways that move proteins, membranes and other matter into and out of cells. Live cell imaging and microscopy reveal these behaviours at molecular, cellular and tissue levels. Our research examines the surface features (ruffles, filopodia, cilia) and cellular pathways (macropinocytosis, secretory and recycling pathways) in macrophages, other immune cells, epithelial cells and cancer cells that give each of them specialised functions. As revealed by our research, many of these pathways are governed by small GTPases of the Rab family and their effector molecules. Understanding these pathways is important in disease, for instance, immunity, inflammation and cancer metastasis are all dependent on the Rab-mediated macropinocytosis or cell drinking pathways we investigate.

Research Impacts

Cells contain remarkably complex pathways for trafficking, or moving proteins around, and for the signalling that controls cell responses. Many of these pathways are affetced in disease and are also the targets for drugs used to treat disease. Insights gained from our research are the framework for developing new strategies to treat diseases. Poorly controlled inflammation is a pervasive disease process underlying many chronic diseases and our research on immune cells is uncovering how inflammation is normally controlled within cells, and highlighting new molecular targets for treating inflammation in chronic diseases and cancer.

Our work takes advantage of the cutting-edge rsearch facilities in IMB at The University of Queensland, and we collaborate with many valued colleagues throughout Australia and around the world. Technologically, it is a very exciting time for microscopy, cell imaging and big image data which are transforming our ability to visualize and understand cell processes. New, cross disciplinary developments for cell imaging are creating further new technologies that reach out broadly to empower research and industry.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Monash University
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), Monash University

Publications

  • Guo, Dajiang, Lui, Goldie Y. L., Lai, Siew Li, Wilmott, James S., Tikoo, Shweta, Jackett, Louise A., Quek, Camelia, Brown, Darren L., Sharp, Danae M., Kwan, Rain Y. Q., Chacon, Diego, Wong, Jason H., Beck, Dominik, van Geldermalsen, Michelle, Holst, Jeff, Thompson, John F., Mann, Graham J., Scolyer, Richard A., Stow, Jennifer L., Weninger, Wolfgang, Haass, Nikolas K. and Beaumont, Kimberley A. (2019) RAB27A promotes melanoma cell invasion and metastasis via regulation of pro-invasive exosomes. International Journal of Cancer, 144 3070-3085. doi:10.1002/ijc.32064

  • Luo, Lin, Bokil, Nilesh J., Wall, Adam A., Kapetanovic, Ronan, Lansdaal, Natalie M., Marceline, Faustine, Burgess, Belinda J., Tong, Samuel J., Guo, Zhong, Alexandrov, Kirill, Ross, Ian L., Hibbs, Margaret L., Stow, Jennifer L. and Sweet, Matthew J. (2017) SCIMP is a transmembrane non-TIR TLR adaptor that promotes proinflammatory cytokine production from macrophages. Nature Communications, 8 14133. doi:10.1038/ncomms14133

  • Murray, R. Z., Kay, J. G., Sangermani, D. G. and Stow, J. L. (2005) A role for the phagosome in cytokine secretion. Science, 310 5753: 1492-1495. doi:10.1126/science.1120225

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Supervision

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Publications

Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Condon, Nicholas D., Wall, Adam A., Yeo, Jeremy C., Hamilton, Nicholas A. and Stow, Jennifer L. (2017). Image-based analysis of phagocytosis: measuring engulfment and internalization. In Roberto Botelho (Ed.), Phagocytosis and phagosomes: methods and protocols (pp. 201-214) New York, NY, United States: Humana Press. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-6581-6_13

  • Stow, J. L. and Murray, R. Z. (2015). Post-golgi transport - cargo, carriers, and pathways. In Ralph A. Bradshaw and Philip D. Stahl (Ed.), Encyclopedia of cell biology (pp. 363-370) Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-394447-4.20035-7

  • Gual-Soler, Marga, Taguchi, Tomohiko, Stow, Jennifer L. and Wicking, Carol (2012). Rab23. In Sangdun Choi (Ed.), Encyclopedia of signalling molecules (pp. 1532-1536) New York, United States: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-0461-4

  • Stow, J. L. and Teasdale, R. D. (2005). Expression and localization of proteins in mammalian cells. In P S E Little and J S E Quackenbush (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioformatics (pp. ---) London, England: John Wiley & Sons.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

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  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

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  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

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  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

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  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

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  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

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Completed Supervision