Dr Tom Brodnicki

Immunology and Diabetes Unit
St Vincents Institute


Research Activities

Research in our laboratory is focused on how genetic variation and infection affect susceptibility to autoimmune disease. During the course of evolution, it might be assumed that alleles conferring susceptibility for autoimmune disease would undergo negative selection. Such alleles, however, are often found to be common in the human population based on recent genome-wide association studies. It is postulated that these seemingly deleterious alleles are maintained in the population because they provide resistance to infectious disease. Alternatively, the hygiene hypothesis suggests that certain infections may temper the immune system and decrease the risk for developing autoimmunity in genetically at-risk individuals. Testing these overlapping hypotheses in humans is difficult. Instead, our principal research strategy is to use different mouse models that are susceptible or resistant to infectious and autoimmune disease. A combination of genetic mapping, genomic profiling and cellular immunology is being used to identify candidate disease genes, as well as determine how certain alleles affect susceptibiliy and resistance to infectious and autoimmune diseases and whether certain types of infections can prevent autoimmune disease.


Genetic mapping of susceptibility loci for infectious and autoimmune diseases
Genomic and expression profiling of disease candidate genes
High-throughput genotyping techniques (mouse and human)
Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenesis
Transposon mutagenesis
CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing in mice and cell lines
RNA/protein interactions In vitro and in vivo cellular analyses of immune and autoimmune responses
Histopathology (pancreas, salivary glands, kidney)


Prof Glen Browning, The University of Melbourne
A/Prof Meredith O'Keeffe, Monash University
Prof Dick Strugnell, The University of Melbourne
Dr Sylvie Lesage, Masionneuve-Rosemont Hosptial Research Center & University of Montreal, Canada
Dr Pablo, Silveira, ANZAC Research Institute
Prof Stefan Broer, Australian National University
A/Prof Ashley Mansell

Disease Models

Mouse models of infection: Listeria monocytogenes, Mycoplasma pulmonis
Mouse models of autoimmunity: type 1 diabetes, Sjogren's syndrome

Genetically Modified Organisms

Knockout mouse strains for novel disease candidate genes (AK005651, Serinc1, Slc16a10, Ifnar1, Ifngr1, Ifnlr1)
Transposon mutant NOD mouse strains (eg Serinc1, Slc16a10)
Congenic NOD mouse strains for Chr4, Chr13

Other members with similar research interests

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A/Prof Mark Chong

St Vincents Institute SEE FULL PROFILE >

A/Prof Kumar Visvanathan

University of Melbourne SEE FULL PROFILE >

Dr Scott Mueller

Department of Microbiology and Immunology University of Melbourne SEE FULL PROFILE >

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