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Personal profile


Mark Wright is an Associate Professor in the Department of Immunology, within the Central Clinical School, and Group leader of the Leucocyte Membrane Protein Laboratory.

Associate Professor Mark Wright completed his undergraduate B.Sc honours degree at the University of Melbourne in 1984. In 1987, he joined the Immunoparasitology unit at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute to commence a PhD under the supervision of the eminent immunologist Prof. Graham Mitchell. Whilst completing his studies on characterizing the antigens of the human parasite Schistoma mansoni, he identified a parasite protein that was one of the first members of the tetraspanin superfamily. In 1991, armed with an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship, Wright joined the MRC Cellular Immunology Unit, at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, Oxford University, where he conducted post-doctoral studies under the guidance of Prof. Neil Barclay and the late Prof. Alan Williams. In Oxford, Wright consolidated his research on tetraspanin proteins, switching his attention to the function of tetraspanin proteins in immune cells. In 1994 Wright returned to Australia to the laboratory of Prof. Ken Shortman at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, where he continued his research on tetraspanin proteins and initiated a new program, molecularly characterizing the surface of dendritic cell populations. In 2000, Wright moved to the Austin Research Institute to form his own laboratory working on his twin interests of tetraspanins and dendritic cell surface proteins. After 7 happy years, he joined the Monash Department of Immunology . Together with his continuing research interests, Associate Professor Wright plays a major role in the Immunology teaching program. He currently co-ordinates the 3rd year immunology units IMM3031 and IMM3042, and supervises honours and PhD students.

Research interests

The Leucocyte Membrane Protein Laboratory studies molecules expressed at the surface of white blood cells. These receptors play a critical role in the biology of white blood cells as they serve as molecular antennae. Their role is to receive signals from outside the cell and allow the cell to respond to and interact with its environment. This laboratory focuses on two complementary, but distinct fields of interest. Firstly, we are fascinated by a particular type of cell surface protein known as the Tetraspanins, and we aim to determine the precise role that these molecules play in the immune system. Secondly, we are interested in the identification and characterisation of novel molecules expressed at the surface of a rare and important type of white blood cell – the dendritic cells (DC). DC expressed surface molecules may represent exciting new targets for manipulating the immune system. Understanding the molecules that control white blood cell function will ultimately lead to novel therapies for diseases controlled by the immune system, such as infections, autoimmune disease and cancer.


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

Research area keywords

  • leukocyte membrane proteins
  • Tetraspanins
  • Dendritics Cell

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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