Robyn Slattery

Professor

20012018

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Personal profile

Biography

Robyn works in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University as a Professor. She is the Director of Education in the Central Clinical School of Monash University.  She plays a major role in teaching Immunology to Science, Biomedical, and Medical undergraduate and post-graduate students at Monash University.  For her contribution to teaching, Slattery received the Monash Central Clinical School Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015, the Inaugural Teacher Innovation and Impact Award from the Monash University Office of Learning and Teaching in 2016 and the Monash Student Association (MSA) Teaching Award for Outstanding Teaching for the Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences in 2016.

 Robyn’s research background is in Immunology with a particular interest in using genetic engineering and interdisciplinary approaches. She undertook her PhD training at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute under the supervision of Professor Jacques Miler, the forefather of modern immunology, who discovered the function of the thymus, T and B cells – this year winning the Lasker Prize – also known as the American Nobel! She has spent 25 years, at DNAX Research institute, USA, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australia, and Monash University, Australia, developing genetic engineering tools for their application in the discipline of immunology.  This pioneering work was initially published in Nature with numerous follow-up publications in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) demonstrated that the direct interaction of cytotoxic cells of the immune system with the insulin-producing beta cells is a late event in the disease process, and the killer T cells responsible for destroying the insulin producing cells do not require direct contact with the insulin producing beta cells in order to become primed. These findings remain of paramount importance in understanding disease initiation for the rational design of immunomodulatory preventative strategies. Robyn’s research team at Monash, together with international collaborator Prof Pere Santamaria University of Calgary, has continued to pursue the mechanisms by which MHC class I and class II haplotypes confer susceptibility; most recently demonstrating that MHC class I expression on the dendritic cells (DCs) controls the presence and retention of cytotoxic T cells within the islet milieu, and that the specific haplotypes of MHC class II, expressed by these DCs control the development of regulatory T cells that prevent T1D.  Since taking on a leadership role in education, Robyn’s research interests are now collaborative, continuing in the interdisciplinary theme, involving the development of instrumentation with the Engineering department and the utilization of infra-red microscopy approaches from the Chemistry department, to probe the phenotype of immune cells.

 

 

 

Research area keywords

  • Education
  • Immunology
  • Diabetes

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