Dr Larisa Labzin, Institute of Molecular Bioscience, UQ


Effective host defence against infection relies on accurate and timely immune detection. Accumulating evidence suggests that severe COVID-19, caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, results from a failure of early host interferon signalling to control the virus, followed by exacerbated pro-inflammatory responses driving tissue damage. Airway epithelial cells, the primary target for SARS-CoV-2 infection respond by releasing both anti-viral and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Airway-resident or newly recruited macrophages also appear to be a key source of pro-inflammatory cytokines in severe COVID-19, with macrophage-derived cytokines implicated in the severe pathology seen in patients. Here we explore the molecular pathways by which macrophages sense viral infections to drive protective and pathogenic responses, with a view to identifying new therapeutic targets for acute viral infections.


Larisa’s interest in innate immunity started during her honours training with Prof. Matt Sweet at the IMB, looking at how TLR4 signalling is regulated by HDACs. After gaining more experience while working as a research assistant for Prof. Sweet, she moved to Germany to the University of Bonn for her PhD. At the University of Bonn Larisa investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of High Density Lipoprotein with Prof. Eicke Latz. Larisa then moved to Cambridge, UK as an EMBO postdoctoral fellow to work with Dr. Leo James at the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Biology. In Dr James' lab Larisa focused on how viruses are sensed by the innate immune system to trigger inflammation. In particular Larisa investigated how antibodies change the way viruses trigger inflammation. While in Cambridge, Larisa was awarded an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship to return to Australia. Larisa returned to the IMB in September 2019 to work with Prof. Kate Schroder. Larisa is an IMB Fellow and is continuing to investigate how viruses trigger inflammation. 

About Seminar Series

The School of Pharmacy Seminar Series involves regular formal presentations of high-quality scholarly work with broad appeal.

The wider School community is invited to attend, including academic and professional staff, special guests, visitors, as well as HDR, postgraduate, masters and honours students.


Level 5, Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence (PACE)
20 Cornwall Street, Woolloongabba 4102
Online, or Room 5034