Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases
MIMR-PHI Institute of Medical Research
Melbourne, Australia

Dr Maria Kaparakis-Liaskos obtained her Ph.D from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne in 2005, under the supervision of Professor Richard Strugnell. Since graduating, Dr Liaskos research interests have focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying the induction of inflammation and pathology in response to bacterial infection, and in particular, to the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori.

Dr Liaskos undertook her post-doctoral studies in the laboratory of Associate Professor Richard Ferrero at Monash University, where she examined innate immune responses to Helicobacter pylori. During this time, she and her colleagues identified bacterial outer membrane vesicles as a novel mechanism whereby all Gram negative bacteria, irrespective of their mode of infection, could be detected by the intracellular pathogen recognition receptor, NOD1.

In 2009, Dr Liaskos joined the Centre of Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases, at Monash Institute of Medical research, now named the MIMR-PHI Institute of Medical Research. Her current research focuses on understanding the role of NOD1 in responding to bacterial infections and in the development of pro-inflammatory cytokine responses. Her recent research has identified the intracellular location of NOD1, as well as the mechanisms whereby NOD1 detects Gram negative bacterial peptidoglycan, resulting in the generation of autophagy and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by the host. These recent findings elucidate the cellular processes underlying NOD1-driven pathology and have the potential to advance the design and development of therapeutics against NOD-Like Receptor (NLR) driven disease states.