Laura Mackay, PhD

Professor Laura Mackay holds appointments at The Peter Doherty Institute at The University of Melbourne and A*STAR in Singapore. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and Bill & Melinda Gates International Scholar, a Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation Senior Medical Research Fellow and anNHMRCLeadership Investigator. She is the recipient of Awards including The 2019 Prime Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, The Gottschalk Medal (Australian Academy of Science), The Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher, The Woodward Medal in Science and Technology, The Michelson Prize for Human Immunology and The Victorian Young Tall Poppy Award.She is also the current President of The Federation of Immunological Societies of Asia-Oceania (FIMSA). For a number of years, Laura has been at the forefront of research into tissue-resident immune cells and their role in local immunity. The focus of her Laboratory is on the molecular signals that govern tissue-resident memory T cell differentiation, with a view to harness these cells for the development of new immunotherapeutic strategies against disease.


“Inter-organ diversity of Tissue-resident Lymphocytes”

It is well established that tissue-resident memory T (TRM) cells represent an important non-migratory population critical to immunity in non-lymphoid organs. TRM cells found in multiple tissues are distinct from circulating memory T cells and utilise common transcriptional networks that underpin their residency. Here, we describe the developmental variation that exists between TRM cells in different organs, and how the tissue microenvironment can dynamically shape the functional capabilities of TRM cell populations within a given tissue. Such findings have critical implications for our understanding and manipulation of site-specific immunity.