Laboratory of NeuroimmunologyNeuroimmunology

Laboratory of Neuroimmunology

The research focus of the Laboratory of Neuroimmunology is the role of early life events in programming development.

Perinatal programming occurs when non-genetic factors act on the mother or foetus to cause permanent alterations to the normal physiological development of the foetus.

The Laboratory of Neuroimmunology consists of a functional biochemical laboratory with standard equipment including HPLC, gamma counter, ELISA reader, PCR machine and microtome.

The laboratory also houses an immune laboratory with all of the standard equipment required for tissue and cell culture, including an incubator, microscopes, and laminar flow/biohazard and biosafety hoods. 

A fully operational animal surgery with operating table, anaesthetic machine and stereotaxic equipment is also contained within the laboratory, including an animal breed holding facility fully accredited by the Animal Care and Ethics Committee.

Collaborations

The laboratory maintains research collaborative efforts with the Mother and Baby Research Centre and the Chronic Fatigue Research Centre at the University of Newcastle, and the University of New England.

The laboratory also has international collaborations in the USA with The University of California, Los Angeles, The John Hopkins University, Baltimore and The University of Wisconsin, Madison, and in the Netherlands with The University of Utrecht.

Outcomes

The laboratory has a research focus on the plasticity of endocrine control mechanisms in the neonate. 

Our laboratory has provided one of the first demonstrations that neonatal exposure to bacterial endotoxin results in a significant impairment in tumour immunity in adulthood. 

Other investigations include:

  • animal models of psychopathology
  • early childhood stress and altered psychophysiological reactivity in chronic pain
  • prenatal infection on schizophrenia
  • programming of pain responses by early life infection
  • prophylactic role of maternal probiotic intervention in the prevention of endocrine, immune and gut alterations induced by early life stress