Rossjohn Laboratory

Understanding immune function and dysfunction.

Professor Jamie Rossjohn

Professor Jamie Rossjohn’s research is centered on an understanding immunity. He is currently an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow (2017-2021) and previously a NHMRC Australia Fellow (2011-2016) and ARC Federation Fellow (2007-11). He is the Head of the Infection and Immunity Program of the Biomedicine Discovery Institute. Prof. Rossjohn is known for his contributions to the understanding the molecular basis underpinning immunity. He has used structural biology to explain pre-T- cell receptor (TCR) self-association in T-cell development, and how the TCR specifically recognises polymorphic Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) molecules in the context of viral immunity and aberrant T- cell reactivity.

He has unearthed structural mechanisms of HLA polymorphism impacting on drug and food hypersensitivities, as well as Natural Killer cell receptor recognition. He has pioneered our molecular understanding of lipid-based immunity by T cells, revealing that it can differ fundamentally from peptide-mediated adaptive immunity.

Recently he has provided a structural basis of how vitamin B metabolites can be presented and recognised by the immune system, revealing a new class of antigen. Collectively, he has published > 400 papers and mentored numerous researchers towards obtaining higher degrees and nationally competitive fellowships.

What We Do

The laboratory is currently investigating two broad, yet interrelated areas addressing pivotal molecular interactions in immunity: Our program is inter-linked to create a complete systematic study, namely host recognition, responses developed by the pathogen, and drug design to modulate and/or counteract these events.

Here we aim to provide a fundamental advancement of knowledge of events that are central to innate and adaptive immunity. Understanding the structural and biophysical basis of MHC-restriction, TCR engagement, the structural correlates of T-cell signalling is significant; they represent central questions in the field of adaptive immunity. Moreover, investigating the structural basis of T-cell allorecognition, and T-cell mediated autoimmunity, will collectively provide clear insights into immune dysfunction. In addition, focusing on generic components of innate immunity is important, as the mechanisms underlying innate recognition, is simply unknown.

Our Highlights

Recent Fellowship Success

  • Prof. Jamie Rossjohn Fellow of Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Prof. Jamie Rossjohn Fellow of Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences
  • Dr Jerome Le Nours ARC Future fellow.
  • Prof. Jamie Rossjohn ARC Australian Laureate Fellow
  • Dr Gabby Watson ASBMB Fellowship
  • Dr Karin Schmidt Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow
  • Dr Martin Davey ARC DECRA Fellow

Academia-Industry

  • Monash and Janssen Multi Year Research Collaboration

Mentorship

  • Future students

Outreach

Our Current Projects

The academic research program within this laboratory is concerned with defining the key molecular interactions underlying receptor recognition events that are the primary determinants of innate and adaptive immunity. The laboratory’s research has provided an understanding of the basis of peptide, metabolite and lipid presentation, T-cell triggering, aberrant T-cell reactivity, monomorphic and polymorphic Natural Killer (NK) receptor recognition.

The team’s research on anti-viral immunity has provided an understanding of the factors that shape MHC-restriction (e.g. Immunity, 2003, 2016; Nature Immunol, 2005, 2007, 2015; Nature Rev Immunol 2018). Moreover, we have demonstrated how the preTCR, a receptor crucial for T-cell development, functions by autonomous dimerization (Nature, 2010). In relation to aberrant T-cell reactivity, our team has provided insight into alloreactivity (Immunity, 2009), Celiac Disease (Immunity, 2012; NSMB, 2014; Cell 2019) and HLA-linked drug hypersensitivities (Nature, 2012; NSMB 2014). Regarding innate and innate-like recognition, the team has shed light into how Natural Killer cell receptors interact with their cognate ligands (Nature 2011; J. Exp. Med. 2008, 2016; Nature Immunol 2013; NSMB 2017; Cell 2017; PNAS 2018).

Further, we have provided fundamental insight into how T cells recognise lipid-based antigens in the context of protective and aberrant immunity (Nature, 2007; Nature Immunol 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018; Nature Comms. 2016). Most recently, our team identified the long sought after ligand for MAIT cells, namely showing that MAIT cells are activated by metabolites of vitamin B (Nature 2012, 2014; Nat Commun 2012; Nat Immunol 2016, 2017, 2020). The industrial research program of the laboratory includes a close collaboration with Janssen (one of the Pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson), for the development of new therapies to treat Celiac Disease; and Immutep, to enhance our understanding of T-cell signalling and the development of innovative biotechnology products.

Research Projects

Discovery of a rare human gene mutation that causes MAIT cells to disappear

A collaboration between Monash Health, the Australian Genomics Health Alliance (AGHA) and researchers at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has led to the discovery of a rare single gene mutation in a patient that eliminates an immune cell population, namely MAIT cells. This study’s journey began with a patient of Dr Samar Ojaimi from Monash Health who […]

Congratulations to Rachel: Faculty Three minute thesis (3MT) 2020 finalist

An 80,000 word PhD thesis would take 9 hours to present. Their time limit… 3 minutes Watch our PhD student, Rachel Farquhar’s 3 minute PhD thesis video: The skinny on fats – Fats and your immune system Competitors were not judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities. Judging focused on the presentation, ability to communicate […]

Call for immunology to return to the wild

A multidisciplinary research team from more than 10 universities and research institutes has outlined how integrating a more diverse set of species and environments could enhance the biomedical research cycle. The viruses that cause COVID-19, AIDS, Ebola, and rabies – among others – all made the lethal jump from wildlife into humans. In an article […]

Our new research collaboration with Janssen to tackle coeliac disease

Monash University has signed a multi-year research collaboration with Janssen Biotech, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to advance the understanding of the immune mechanisms underpinning Coeliac Disease and inform the development of new methods of diagnosis and treatment. The research will be led by Professor Jamie Rossjohn from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. The […]