About Associate Professor Allison Abendroth

Associate Professor Allison Abendroth is the Head of the Varicella Zoster Virus Immunobiology Research Laboratory and the Dept Infectious Diseases and Immunology Honours and Postgraduate Co-ordinator.

My major area of interest is the immunobiology and pathogenesis of human Herpes viruses. In particular, my studies have focussed on Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) and human Cytomegalovirus (CMV). My research career started with a B.Sc Hons (First class) and I completed my PhD at the University of Adelaide/IMVS as a Dawes Scholar studying the immunobiology of neurotropic Herpesvirus infection. These studies resulted in the first demonstration that HSV infected neurons can express exogenous MHC class I molecules on their surfaces. In 1996 I took up a post-doctoral research position with Professor Ann Arvin at Stanford University which enabled me to further my career interests in Herpesvirus immunobiology and pathogenesis by initiating projects to assess VZV-encoded immunomodulation. These studies led to the first published reports that VZV modulates both MHC class I and II expression. In August 1999 I returned to Australia to take up a University of Sydney Research position at the Centre for Virus Research, Westmead Millennium Institute. In 2000 I established the VZV Research Laboratory and continued studies on VZV immune evasion, neurobiology and cell tropism. I also expanded my research interests to include collaborative studies on CMV. In addition to my core research work, in 2004 I was appointed as Sesqui Lecturer in Immunology, University of Sydney and I am the Honours Co-ordinator, Post-graduator and course co-ordinator for Senior Immunology subjects (Immunology in Human Disease and Molecular and Cellular Immunology) in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, University of Sydney. To the best of my knowledge, I head the only research lab in Australia whose primary goal is the study of VZV immunobiology and pathogenesis. I have developed a range of novel approaches that are enabling the mechanisms underlying virus encoded manipulation of host defences to be elucidated. These include the development of models to study VZV-dendritic cell-T cell interactions and VZV infection and functions in neuronal cells. Since moving to the University of Sydney from Stanford University I have been successful in attracting significant levels of competitive research funding and I have recruited and trained 12 Honours and 3 PhD student completions. I currently supervise/co-supervise 2 Honours students and 7 PhD students. My research has led to a number of successful collaborations with internationally recognised herpes virologists and cell biologists at highly regarded institutions including the NIH, Stanford and Columbia Universities, the University of Pittsburgh and University of Queensland. The research we undertake has been presented at many major international and national conferences.

Selected publications

For a comprehensive list of Associate Professor Abendroth's publicatons, please visit her Sydney Medical School profile page.