Miss Catarina Almeida
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
University of Melbourne
She is currently in the process of submitting her PhD thesis (anticipated completion in August 2015), and in addition to having already published 2 papers (Tatituri et al, PNAS 2013) and (Wolf et al, JI 2015), one of which in the highly regarded PNAS journal, she is also preparing a manuscript with anticipated submission to a leading peer-reviewed international journal within 4 months.
Research ActivitiesAlmeida initiated her work in the field of immunology almost 7 years ago, with a focus on Natural killer T (NKT) cell biology during her MSc at The University of Lisbon in Portugal. For the initial 2 years she worked in Dr. Luis Graça’s group studying mechanisms capable of inducing and maintaining immune tolerance in allergy and autoimmune disease, and investigating the functional plasticity of various NKT cell subsets and their role in immune regulation. The research conducted within Dr. Graça’s group contributed to the outcome of 5 publications in the Journal of Immunology. As a result of this success, she was awarded a prestigious FCT international PhD scholarship by the Portuguese government (FCT - ‘Foundation for Science and Technology’), and a highly competitive Melbourne International Fee remission Scholarship (MIFRS) by the University of Melbourne, and in 2011 she joined Professor Dale Godfrey’s laboratory at the University of Melbourne as a PhD candidate. Currently she has continued to conduct highly competitive research in the field of NKT cell biology, with a specific focus on less well-characterized members NKT cell family. During her PhD, she discovered and characterized a novel subset of NKT cells with distinct antigen reactivity for a microbial antigen, and revealed that NKT cells express a highly diverse TCR repertoire and utilize broader mechanisms to recognize their cognate antigens, than previously assumed.
Techniques/ExpertiseFlow Cytometry; In vitro cell culture; Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assays (ELISA); Electrophoresis (DNA and Protein); Single Cell PCR; RNA isolation and cDNA purification; DNA cloning; use of E. Coli for protein expression; Inclusion Body preparation; Refold of T cell receptors; Fast Protein liquid chromatography; Production of retroviruses; generation of TCR transduced cell lines; Animal handling techniques - (certified by the european veterinary association)
CollaborationsProf Spencer Williams, Bio 21 Institute, The University of Melbourne
Prof. Michael Brenner, Harvard Medical School, USA
Prof. Jamie Rossjohn, Monash University
Disease ModelsEAE - Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (previous position - Dr. Graca's group)
AHR - Airway hyper-reactivity (previous position - Dr. Graca's group)