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Personal profile

Biography

Dr Lawlor received her PhD in Medical Biology in 2004 at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and The University of Melbourne. After being awarded an NHMRC CJ Martin Overseas Biomedical Fellowship, she completed postdoctoral research at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, UK and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, most recently in the laboratory of Dr James Vince. During this time she established expertise in the molecular and cellular dissection of inflammatory signalling pathways, and the translation of these findings in vivo using models of autoimmune, inflammatory and infectious diseases. In 2018, she was recruited to head the Cell Death and Inflammatory Signalling group within the Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases at the Hudson Institute.

Research interests

The Cell Death and Inflammatory Signalling group aims to identify new molecules that regulate cell death and inflammatory signalling.  We also seek to establish whether cell death signalling can be inhibited therapeutically to treat inflammatory disease, or triggered to promote antimicrobial responses.

Dr Lawlor and her team investigate the cross-talk between programmed cell death and inflammatory signalling pathways in disease. In particular, the laboratory studies how cell death induces activation of innate immune cell pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), including the inflammasomes. Inflammasomes are now known to activate pro-inflammatory protein Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) to induce a lytic form of cell death, called pyroptosis. This activity is critical for clearance of microbial organisms by the immune system. However, excess IL-1β activity can exacerbate rare hereditary autoinflammatory syndromes and common diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

External positions

Honorary Fellow, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI)

Research area keywords

  • innate immunity
  • Inflammasomes
  • Cell death
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Signalling pathways
  • Infection and immunity
  • Autoimmune Diseases

Network

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