The Tscharke Group - Viruses and Immunity

The Tscharke Lab has interests in the pathogenesis and immunology of large DNA virus infections. Our research has three major themes:

1. Understanding herpes simplex virus latency, with a particular interest in viral and host gene expression during the latent phase of infection. Our hypothesis is that herpes simplex latency is more dynamic than previously appreciated and that the virus is under host control during this stage of infection rather than being entirely quiescent.

2. Quantitative studies of the presentation of viral antigens to the immune system (especially CD8+ T cells) during infection. Our interest here is in understanding how the levels of presentation relate to anti-viral immune responses and in turn how this information can be exploited in vaccine development.

3. Uncovering the roles of viral and host genes in viral pathogenesis. This includes studies of genes of vaccinia virus that might be an impediment to use of this virus as a vaccine vector, genes of herpes simplex virus that block antigen presentation and genes involved in effective host responses.

In addition, we are continually improving our research tools and methods. For example, incorporating CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering methods in our methods in engineer the viruses we need for our investigations. Specific projects within this range are tailored to the interests of students.

Research interests

  • Immunity to virus infection and in particular CD8+ T cells;
  • Poxviruses and herpesviruses;
  • Antigen presentation.

Recent grants

  • NHMRC Project Grant, APP1049760; $517,097; CIA: MC Cook, CIB: DC Tscharke. Title: Genomic medicine for human immune deficiency. 2013-2015.
  • ARC Future Fellowship, FT110100310; $714,528; Fellow DC Tscharke. Title: Virus and host genes and the outcome of infection. 2012-2015.
  • NHMRC Project Grant, APP1023141; $562,350; CIA: DC Tscharke, CIB: A Purcell (Melb). Title: Quantification of antigen presentation to CD8 T cells during virus infection. 2012-2014.
  • NHMRC Project Grant, no APP1005846, $555,048. CIA: F. Carbone, CIB: D. Tscharke. Title: Anti-viral immunity and the survival of cells infected with herpes simplex virus in vivo. 2011-2013.
  • NHMRC Project Grant, no 509199, $483,750. CIA: F. Carbone, CIB: D. Tscharke. Title: Why eczema increases the severity of virus infections. 2008-2010.
  • Subcontract to National Institutes of Health, USA grant HHSN272200700038C, Subaward PI: C. Goodnow, D. Tscharke share: USD$291,500. Title: Systems approach to immunity and inflammation. 2008-2012.
  • NHMRC R Douglas Wright Biomedical Career Development Award, no 418108, D. Tscharke, Fellow. Title: CD8+ T cell immunity to viruses and recombinant vaccines. 2007-2011.
  • National Institutes of Health, USA grant RO1AI067401, USD$754,850. D. Tscharke PI (or CIA), G. Karupiah and M. Buller. Title: CD8+ T cell specificity in mouse models of smallpox vaccination and challenge. Sept 2006 - Aug 2010.
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Selected publications