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Join Gras lab

Current projects | Student research projects

Welcome to our lab! We are a diverse international team of researchers with a common goal – to understand how the immune system fights infection such as by viruses. Can we make it fight harder?  Why some of us are at higher risk of developing severe infection due to those viruses, while other seems to be able to handle the infection better? Understanding the T cell responses at the molecular level—specifically, the interaction between HIV/Influenza peptides and T cell receptors —is central for informing therapeutic or vaccine development against these viruses.

Our lab uses X-ray crystallography to gain an understanding of the relationship between the immune cells presenting the pathogens (APC or antigen presenting cell) and the ones that are responsible to recognise them (T cells). The advantage of structural biology is that we can visualise the atomic details of the molecules involved in such interaction. This give us an idea of what part of each molecule is important, and this information can be used to manipulate and modify the interaction.

To be able to generate atomic structure, which are 3D models, of our molecules, we need first to produce the proteins in large quantity, purify them to a very high level, then crystallise them. Similarly, to the salt crystals on our kitchen table, but way smaller, we are producing crystals with our proteins.

Structural biology has provided science with a powerful tool to observed the very fine details of protein and small molecules interaction, for example to understand how a small drug act and interact with its specific target.

Apart from X-ray crystallography, we use a wide range of techniques, i.e. protein expression in bacterial strains and mammalian cells, protein purification, molecular biology, affinity measurement studies (SPR), as well as cellular immunology techniques such as flow cytometry, tetramer staining, single cell sequencing, blood processing, intracellular cytokine staining assay (ICS).

We are also a highly collaborative group of researchers – allowing our group to learn a wide range of techniques whilst tackling one of the greatest challenges we face in modern medicine. Our team members regularly present our data at national and international conferences.

Whether you want to research, invest, donate or partner with us to accelerate our life-changing discoveries, we'd be delighted to hear from you. We have opportunities for honours students and post doc researchers to join our lab. Feel free to contact Associate Professor Stephanie Gras with any queries.

Honours and final year undergraduate students

Our lab has vacancies for enthusiastic, high-achieving final year undergraduate students enrolled in BCH3990:Research in Action, IMM3990:Immunology in Action and Honours degree.

Post-doctoral scientists

We support applicants for competitive national and international fellowships.

Industry involvement

We are currently in partnership with two industry that aim to develop new therapeutic against viral infection and cancer, with the aim to combine our efforts in creating new technology that will provide access to cutting-edge training and research environment.

We are always open to help/engage with industry partner.

Clinical partners

We also have partners that help us access clinical samples.

Donate to our lab

Support life-changing discoveries in the area of viral infection research.

Selected funding groups

We gratefully acknowledge the funding given to our lab by the following groups:

  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Australian Research Council
  • Monash University
  • Our industry partners