About Dr Patrick Bertolino

Patrick's work aims to find critical cellular interactions and mechanisms that might help to develop new strategies to promote liver and other solid organ allograft acceptance and hepatitis C viral clearance in patients chronically infected with this virus.

Patrick Bertolino is an immunologist investigating the interactions between the liver and the immune system in order to understand the tolerogenic property of this organ.

Patrick Bertolino is an international expert in liver immunology, particularly the ability of the liver to induce tolerance in transplantation, and chronic HCV infection. He has demonstrated that naïve T cells can be activated directly in the liver by hepatocytes. This fundamental finding overturned the conventional belief that primary T-cell activation is unique to lymphoid tissues. He demonstrated that T cells activated in the liver andymph nodes follow two distinct pathways of differentiation: activation in the lymph nodes induces an effective immune response, an effective immune response immunity, whereas T-cell activation in the liver induces peripheral deletion and tolerance. This model demonstrates that the liver has a more active role in the tolerance process, as previously believed; it explains how effective immune responses in the liver are generated despite its inherent ability to induce tolerance. These advances, published in leading journals in the area (J Clin Invest, Trends Immunol), are a significant step in the goal of being able to control the balance between immunity and tolerance in the liver. This control will have the potential to significantly improve liver transplantation, the treatment of hepatic autoimmune diseases, and the eradication of persistent viral infections such as those induced by HBV and HCV. His work has been cited in major papers in medical research in prestigious journals. The impact of his findings is reflected by invitations to contribute a chapter to a book focused on HCV, invitations to present plenary lectures at some of the most influential international meetings—two Hepatic Inflammation and Immunity meetings in Galveston Island, US (1998 and 2002), the 2004 European Study of Liver Disease and the 2004 Falk Liver Week meetings, both in Freiburg. He was one of the few Australians invited to talk at the 2004 12th International Congress of Immunology in Montreal in the ‘Immunology of the Liver’ symposium, at which he also chaired a session. He has also been invited to talk in plenary sessions in national meetings (Annual meeting of the Australasian Gastroenterology Week (2003), the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (2004) and the Australasian Society of Immunology (2005).

Selected publications

For a comprehensive list of Dr Bertolino's publicatons, please visit his Sydney Medical School profile page.