News/ Staff Notices – October 24, 2017

Welcome to Dr Anne Fletcher and Dr Konstantin (Kostas) Knoblich

Welcome to Drs Fletcher and Knoblich who recently joined the BDI’s Infection and Immunity Program, and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Background: Dr Fletcher and Dr Knoblich’s joint research program is focused on the immunology of fibroblastic stromal cells found in secondary lymphoid organs and tumours. These cells create the microenvironmental structure on which leukocytes crawl and interact, and exert considerable influence over their migration and activation, shaping any subsequent immune response with noted effects on T cells, B cells, dendritic cells and macrophages. The laboratory aims to characterise these poorly-studied stromal cells and identify key mechanisms of action, and through this, target these cells directly with therapeutic effect.
The research program utilises human tissues, mouse models, flow cytometry, cell culture, immunofluorescence, RNA-Seq and live cell imaging.
Dr Fletcher received a PhD in Immunology from Monash, and undertook postdoctoral studies in Boston at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with support from a CJ Martin Fellowship. She fulfilled the return component at Monash, then was awarded a Birmingham Fellowship to start a laboratory at the University of Birmingham in the UK. Anne now returns to Monash to run the Stromal Immunology Laboratory jointly with Dr Konstantin Knoblich (Kostas).
Dr Knoblich completed a PhD at the University of Birmingham in Cancer Studies (NMR Spectroscopy). He was awarded a Benacerraf Fellowship for postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School / Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, followed by 18 months at WEHI, then the University of Birmingham where he was awarded a European Research Commission Early Career (Marie Curie Sklowdoska) fellowship.
Under a transitional arrangement, Anne and Kostas have two staff and a student continuing work in the UK. Two new PhD students are expected to begin at the BDI in 2018.
Kostas and Anne are located in room 256, building 75/ STRIP 1. Please come and say hello, we love to collaborate. Lab motto: Just Add Stroma.