Dr Nick Huntington

Dr Nick Huntington2006 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellowship

Dr Nick Huntington from the Deparment of Immunology, The Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, was awarded the 2006 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellowship.

Nick took up his Fellowship in 2007 at the Department of Cytokines and Lymphoid Development Pasteur Institute, Paris. His study is "Natural Killer cell development, survival and homeostasis".

Commended - 2006 Victorian Premier's Award for Medical Research:

"Dr Huntington’s work has focussed on two important cells of the immune system, the “natural killer” or NK cell and the B cell. His studies have demonstrated how an enzyme called CD45 is critical for normal NK and B cell function.

"NK cells search for malignant or infected cells and kill them using two weapons: direct cell lysis and secretion of factors to recruit other destructive cells. Dr Huntington showed that CD45 is essential for the latter property in NK cells.

 

"B cells produce antibodies, molecules that coat and destroy infectious agents, both at their first appearance in the body, and upon re-exposure. This capacity for immunological “memory” is in part due to the longevity of B cells. Dr Huntington showed that B cells need CD45 to survive and contribute to immunological memory.

"This work suggests that manipulation of CD45 activity might be useful to enhance NK cell responses during viral infections or during cancer treatment, and to enhance B cell responses during vaccination, or to dampen them in autoimmune conditions.

"Dr Huntington’s work in these two important areas has been published in journals of the highest standard, including Nature Immunology and the Journal of Experimental Medicine."

May 2007