20042022

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Personal profile

Biography

Dr Anne Fletcher heads the Stromal Immunology Laboratory together with Dr. Konstantin Knoblich. Their group focuses on the immunological specialisation of human and mouse structural fibroblasts found in lymphoid organs and disease states.

Anne completed her PhD in Immunology at Monash University, working on the link between thymic stromal cells and autoimmune disease with Prof. Richard Boyd. She then undertook postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston USA, with Associate Prof. Shannon Turley, exploring the tolerance-inducing and immunological specializations of Lymph Node Stromal Cells. She was recruited to the University of Birmingham, UK in 2014 to start a human stromal immunology research group, and in 2017 the Stromal Immunology group relocated to the Monash University Biomedicine Discovery Institute. Dr. Fletcher is a Senior Research Fellow at Monash University, and an honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, UK.

Research interests

The word “stroma” is Greek for mattress, and "stromal cells" were originally understood as cells in organs that provided structural support and not much else. In recent years our understanding of stromal cells, and the immunologically-specialised roles these cells play has simply exploded, and they are now one of Immunology’s most far-reaching and fascinating areas of study.

Our research program is focused on fibroblast-like stromal cells found in secondary lymphoid organs and tumours. These cells create the structure on which leukocytes crawl and interact. We and others have shown that fibroblasts in lymph nodes are fundamental to healthy immune function, through interactions with T cells, B cells, dendritic cells and macrophages, directly supporting cell survival, function and migration.  

The laboratory studies key mechanisms of action, aiming to target these cells directly with therapeutic effect. We are also now focusing on exploring how these cells manipulate the immune response against cancer, a topic at the forefront of cancer immunology.

The research program utilises primary human tissues as well as mouse models, cutting-edge flow cytometry, cell culture, immunofluorescence, RNA-Seq and live cell imaging. 

University Service

2021 to Current: Member of OHS Committee, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University

2019 to Current: Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University

2019 to Current: Chair of Steering Committee, Monash Functional Genomics Platform, Monash University

2018 to 2021: Member of Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University

2016 to 2017: Member of Executive Committee, Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, University of Birmingham

2016 to 2017: Member of Central Equity Committee, University of Birmingham

2005 to 2007: Member of Executive Committee (student representative) Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories, Monash University

2004 to 2005: Member of Executive Committee (student representative), Department of Immunology, Monash University

2003 to 2005: Student representative, Central and Eastern Clinical School, Monash University

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Immunology, PhD, MONASH UNIVERSITY

Award Date: 8 May 2008

External positions

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University of Birmingham

1 Oct 2017 → …

Research area keywords

  • Immunology
  • Fibroblasts
  • Stromal Cells
  • stromal niche
  • Lymph nodes
  • Tumour Microenvironment

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