Dr Kylie Quinn, 2016 grant recipient, is establishing a strong international reputation in aging, immunology and vaccine research. She has recently published key findings highlighting the potential to revert age-associated decline in the immune system (known as immunosenescence) by targeting “virtual memory’’ T cells (TVM cells).

It is known that older individuals are more susceptible to infections and cancer, and are less responsive to vaccination. Dr Quinn’s research aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that underpin the dysfunction of primary T cell responses in the elderly; and to develop vaccines and cancer treatments that are tailored to a patient’s age.

Her paper titled “Age-Related Decline in Primary CD8+ T Cell Responses Is Associated with the Development of Senescence in Virtual Memory CD8+ T Cells” was recently published in Cell Reports, detailing the different proliferative activity of “virtual memory’’ (TVM ) and “conventional naïve” (TN) T cells, and it highlights the potential for targeting of TVM cells to revert senescence.

Dr Quinn’s findings have been making a significant impact internationally, with invited talks in 2018 at the Keystone Symposium of Ageing, Immunity and Inflammation and the Australian Biology of Ageing Conference, and speaker prizes in 2017 at the Australasian Society for Immunology (ASI) Annual Meeting and the Ageing Cell Conference, held by the British Society for Research on Ageing and the Babraham Institute.

The image below is a representation of immune decline with age.