Our people

Professor Graham Le Gros


Director of Research, Allergic and Parasitic Diseases Programme Leader

Professor Graham Le Gros was appointed Research Director of the Malaghan Institute in 1994, following a three-year Fogarty Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, Washington DC, and a five-year scientist position with Ciba-Geigy in Basel, Switzerland. 

Graham has been a recipient of an International Senior Wellcome Trust Fellowship and James Cook Fellowship. In 2005 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in recognition of his research contributions to the fields of immunology and asthma. In 2010 he was awarded the Wellington Medical Research Foundation Gold Medal and in 2011 he won the Science and Technology category of the Wellingtonian of the Year Awards for his contribution to medical research in Wellington and New Zealand. 

In 2014 Graham was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) and in June 2014 he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Graham has responsibility for the science, administration and fundraising programmes of the Malaghan Institute and he leads an active biomedical research programme in allergic and parasitic diseases.

Research interests

The long-term goal of my research programme is to develop vaccines against asthma, allergy and human hookworm.

Understanding the signals that trigger the initiation of asthma and allergy is critical for the identification of specific treatments that selectively suppress the allergic Th2 immune response. My research group is using murine models, immunological assays and structure/function analyses to generate much needed information in this poorly understood field. Important outcomes of this work will be the development of generally applicable vaccines and therapies for the treatment of individuals with established disease, and the identification of improved immunological markers for monitoring human airway inflammation and allergy.

The flip-side to allergic responses is that they are the ones that protect against parasitic diseases. Therefore, in parallel to my asthma and allergy research, I also have a parasitology research programme dedicated to the development of a vaccine against human hookworm, one of the great neglected tropical diseases that keeps over a billion people in a state of poor health. Using the rodent model of human hookworm, Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, in combination with cytokine and cell knockout murine models, we are looking for putative targets both for vaccine design and testing of vaccine efficacy in the field.

Research group

Allergic & Parasitic Diseases Programme
Programme Leader: Professor Graham Le Gros
Senior Research Officers: Mali Camberis
Melanie Prout
PhD students: Ryan Kyle
Catherine Plunkett
Sotaro Ochiai
Summer student: Research Fellows: Dr Hazel Poyntz
Dr Tiffany Bouchery-Smith
Dr Lieke van den Elsen



Camberis M, Prout M, Tang SC, Forbes-Blom E, Robinson M, Kyle R, Belkaid Y, Paul W, Le Gros G (2013) Evaluating the in vivo Th2 priming potential among common allergens. J Immunol Methods, 394:62-72

Harvie M, Camberis M, Le Gros G (2013) Development of CD4 T cell dependent immunity against N. brasiliensis infection. Front Immunol, 4:74 [Epub 2013 Mar 20]

Roediger B, Kyle R, Ho Yip K, Sumaria N, Guy TV, Kim BS, Mitchell AJ, Tay SS, Jain R, Forbes-Blom E, Chen X, Tong PL, Bolton HA, Artis D, Paul WE, Fazekas de St Groth B, Grimbaldeston MA, Le Gros G, Weninger W (2013) Cutaneous immunosurveillance and regulation of inflammation by group 2 innate lymphoid cells. Nat Immunol, 14:564-73

van Panhuys N, Camberis M, Yamada M, Tegoshi T, Arizono N, Le Gros G (2013) Mucosal trapping and degradation of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis occurs in the absence of STAT6. Parasitology, 140:833-43


Dickgreber N, Farrand KJ, van Panhuys N, Knight DA, McKee SJ, Chong ML, Miranda-Hernandez S, Baxter AG, Locksley RM, Le Gros G, Hermans IF (2012) Immature murine NKT cells pass through a stage of developmentally programmed innate IL-4 secretion. J Leukoc Biol, 92:999-1009

Enomoto N, Hyde E, Ma JZ, Yang J, Forbes-Blom E, Delahunt B, Le Gros G, Ronchese F (2012) Allergen-specific CTL require perforin expression to suppress allergic airway inflammation. J Immunol, 188:1734-41

Forbes-Blom E, Camberis M, Prout M, Tang SC, Le Gros G (2012) Staphylococcal derived superantigen enhances peanut induced Th2 responses in the skin. Clin Exp Allergy, 42:305-14

Herbst T, Esser J, Prati M, Kulagin M, Stettler R, Zaiss MM, Hewitson JP, Merky P, Verbeek JS, Bourquin C, Camberis M, Prout M, Maizels RM, Le Gros G, Harris NL (2012) Antibodies and IL-3 support helminth-induced basophil expansion. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 109:14954-9

Min B, Brown MA, Le Gros G (2012) Understanding the roles of basophils: breaking dawn. Immunology, 135:192-7

Robinson M, McConnell MJ, Le Gros G (2012) How epigenetic imprinting contributes to stabilizing the Th2 phenotype. Immunol Cell Biol, 90:917-8


van Panhuys N, Prout M, Forbes E, Min B, Paul WE, Le Gros G (2011) Basophils are the major producers of IL-4 during primary helminth infection. J Immunol, 186:2719-28


Connor LM, Harvie MC, Rich FJ, Quinn KM, Brinkmann V, Le Gros G, Kirman JR (2010) A key role for lung-resident memory lymphocytes in protective immune responses after BCG vaccination. Eur J Immunol, 40:2482-92

Harvie M, Camberis M, Tang SC, Delahunt B, Paul W, Le Gros G (2010) The lung is an important site for priming CD4 T-cell-mediated protective immunity against gastrointestinal helminth parasites. Infect Immun, 78:3753-62 

Forbes E, van Panhuys N, Min B, Le Gros G (2010) Differential requirements for IL-4/STAT6 signalling in CD4 T-cell fate determination and Th2-immune effector responses. Immunol Cell Biol, 88:240-3

Kim S, Prout M, Ramshaw H, Lopez AF, Le Gros G, Min B (2010) Basophils are transiently recruited into the draining lymph nodes during helminth infection via IL-3 but infection-induced Th2 immunity can develop without basophil lymph node recruitment or IL-3. J Immunol, 184:1143-7


Douwes J, Cheng S, Travier N, Cohet C, Niesink A, McKenzie J, Cunningham C, Le Gros G, von Mutius E, Pearce N (2008) Farm exposure in utero may protect against asthma, hay fever and eczema. Eur Respir J, 32:603-11

Forbes EE, Groschwitz K, Abonia JP, Brandt EB, Cohen E, Blanchard C, Ahrens R, Seidu L, McKenzie A, Strait R, Finkelman FD, Foster PS, Matthaei KI, Rothenberg ME, Hogan SP (2008) IL-9- and mast cell-mediated intestinal permeability predisposes to oral antigen hypersensitivity. J Exp Med, 205:897-913 & Nature Rev Immunol, 8:321

Le Gros G, Ben-Sasson SZ, Seder R, Finkelman FD, Paul WE (2008) Generation of interleukin 4 (IL-4)-producing cells in vivo and in vitro: IL-2 and IL-4 are required for in vitro generation of IL-4 producing cells. J Immunol, 181:2943-51

Shen T, Kim S, Do JS, Weng L, Lantz C, Urban JF, Le Gros G, Min B (2008) T cell-derived IL-3 plays key role in parasite infection-induced basophil production but is dispensable for in vivo basophil survival. Int Immunol 20:1201-9

van Panhuys N, Le Gros G, McConnell MJ (2008) Epigenetic regulation of Th2 cytokine expression in atopic diseases. Tissue Antigens, 72:91-7

van Panhuys N, Tang S-C, Prout M, Camberis M, Scarlett D, Roberts J, Hu-Li J, Paul WE, Le Gros G (2008) In vivo studies fail to reveal a role for IL-4 or STAT6 signalling in Th2 lymphocyte differentiation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 105:12423-8

Wang L, van Panhuys N, Hu-Li J, Kims S, Le Gros G, Min B (2008) Blimp-1 induced by IL-4 plays a critical role in suppressing IL-2 production in activated CD4 T cells. J Immunol, 181:5249-56


Douwes J, Travier N, Huang K, Cheng S, McKenzie J, Le Gros G, von Mutius E, Pearce N (2007) Lifelong farm exposure may strongly reduce the risk of asthma in adults. Allergy, 62:1158-65

Oh K, Shen T, Le Gros G, Min B (2007) Induction of Th2 type immunity in a mouse system reveals a novel immunoregulatory role of basophils. Blood, 109:2921-7


Harris NL, Watt V, MacLenachan S, Diehl S, Marsland BJ, Rincon M, Le Gros G (2006) Nuclear factor of activated T (NFAT) cells activity within CD4+ T cells is influenced by activation status and tissue localisation. Microbes Infect 8:232-7

Min B, Le Gros G, Paul WE (2006) Basophils: a potential liaison between innate and adaptive immunity. Allergol Int, 55:99-104

Weir C, McNeill A, Hook S, Harvie M, La Flamme AC, Le Gros G, Backstrom BT (2006) Nuclear factor of activated T (NFAT) cells activity within CD4+ T cells is influenced by activation status and tissue localisation. Microbes Infect, 8:232-7


Douwes J, Le Gros G, Gibson P, Pearce N (2005) On the hygiene hypothesis: Regulation down, up, or sideways? Correspondence in J Allergy Clin Immunol, 115:1325-1326

Harris NL, Holloway J, Fitzharris P, McDonald M, Camberis M, Fazekas de St Groth B, Ronchese F, Le Gros G (2005) Tissue localization and frequency of antigen-specific effector CD4 T cells determines the development of allergic airway inflammation. Immunol Cell Biol, 83:490-7

Marsland BJ, Camberis M, Le Gros G (2005) Secretory products from infective forms of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis induce a rapid allergic airway inflammatory response. Immunol Cell Biol, 83:40-7

van Panhuys N, Perret R, Prout M, Ronchese F, Le Gros G (2005) Effector lymphoid tissue and its crucial role in protective immunity. Trends Immunol, 26:242-7


Douwes J, Le Gros G, Gibson P, Pearce N (2004) Can bacterial endotoxin exposure reverse atopy and atopic disease? J Allergy Clin Immunol, 114:1051-4

Marsland BJ, Harris NL, Camberis M, Kopf M, Hook SM, Le Gros G (2004) Bystander suppression of allergic airway inflammation by lung resident memory CD8+ T cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 101:6116-21

Marsland BJ, Kopf M, Le Gros G (2004) Viral infection and allergy. Letter to Nature Immunol. 5:865

Marsland BJ, Le Gros G (2004) CD8+ T cells and immunroregulatory networks in asthma. Springer Semin Immunopathol, 25:311-23

Marsland BJ, Scanga CB, Kopf M, Le Gros G (2004) Allergic airway inflammation is exacerbated during acute influenza infection and correlates with increased allergen presentation and recruitment of allergen-specific T-helper type 2 cells. Clin Exp Allergy, 34:1299-306

Min B, Prout M, Hu-Li J, Zhu J, Jankovic D, Morgan ES, Urban JF, Dvorak AM, Finkelman FD, Le Gros G, Paul WE (2004) Basophils produce IL-4 and accumulate in tissues after infection with a Th2-inducing parasite. J Exp Med, 200:507-17

Sayers I, Severn W, Scanga C, Hudson J, Le Gros G, Harper JL (2004) Suppression of allergic airway disease using mycobacterial lipoglycans. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 114:302-9

Singh-Gill G, Larsen DS, Jones JD, Severn WB, Harper JL (2004) Synthetic molecules having immune activity (2004). PCT /NZ2004/000293 (in press)


Hook S, Camberis M, Prout M, Le Gros G (2003) Absence of preproenkephalin increases the threshold for T cell activation. J Neuroimmunol, 140:61-8

Sayers I, LeGros G, Harper JL (2003) From hygiene hypothesis to novel allergic asthma therapeutics. Cur Med Chem-Anti-Inflamm Anti-Allergy Agents, 2:143-155


Beasley R, Shirtcliffe P, Harper JL, Holt S, Le Gros G (2002) Mycobacterium-based vaccines for the prevention of allergic disease: a progress report. Clin Exp Allergy, 32:1128-30

Camberis M, Le Gros G, Urban Jr J (2002) Animal models of Nippostronglyus brasiliensis and Heligmosomoides polygyrus. Curr Protocols Immunol, in press

Conze D, Krahl T, Kennedy N, Weiss L, Lumsden J, Hess P, Flavell RA, Le Gros G, Davis RJ, Rincon M (2002) c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK)1 and JNK2 have distinct roles in CD8(+) T cell activation. J Exp Med, 195:811-23

Guo L, Hu-Li J, Zhu J, Watson CJ, Difilippantonio MJ, Pannetier C, Paul WE. (2002) In TH2 cells the Il4 gene has a series of accessibility states associated with distinctive probabilities of IL-4 production. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 99:10623-8

Harris N, Watt V, Ronchese F, Le Gros G (2002) Differential T cell function and fate in lymph node and non-lymphoid tissues. J Exp Med, 195:317-26

Zhu J, Guo L, Min B, Watson CJ, Hu-Li J, Young HA, Tsichlis PN, Paul WE (2002) Growth factor independent-1 induced by IL-4 regulates Th2 cell proliferation. Immunity, 16:733-44


Harris N, Prout M, Peach RJ, Fazekas de St Groth B, Ronchese F (2001) CD80 costimulation is required for Th2 cell cytokine production but not for antigen-specific accumulation and migration into the lung. J Immunol, 166:4908-4914

Shirtcliffe PM, Easthope SE, Cheng S, Weatherall M, Tan PL, Le Gros G, Beasley R (2001) The effect of delipidated deglycolipidated (DDMV) and heat-killed Mycobacterium vaccae in asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 163:1310-4


Conze D, Lumsden J, Enslen H, Davis RJ, Le Gros G, Rincon M (2000) Activation of p38 MAP kinase in T cells facilitates the immune response to the influenza virus. Mol Immunol, 37:503-13

Holloway JW, Dunbar R, Riley G, Sawyer G, Fitzharris P, Pearce N, Le Gros G, Beasley R (2000) Association of ß2-adrenergic receptor polymorphisms with severe asthma. Clin Exp Allergy, 30:1097-103

Hook S, Prout M, Camberis M, Konig M, Zimmer A, Van Heeke G, Le Gros G (2000) Th2-dependent airway eosinophilia is regulated by preproenkephalin. J Neuroimmunol, 107:59-65

Kirman J, Zakaria Z, McCoy K, Delahunt B, Le Gros G (2000) The role of eosinophils on the pathogenesis of Mycobacterium bovis BCG infection in interferon-? receptor deficient mice. Infect Immun, 68:2976-8

Scanga CB, Le Gros G (2000) Development of an asthma vaccine: research into BCG. Drugs, 59:1217-21


Erb KJ, Hou S, Hyland L, Kirman J, Moll H, Le Gros G (1999) Constitutive expression of interleukin 4 in vivo does not lead to the development of T helper 2 type CD8+ T cells secreting interleukin 4 or interleukin 5. Immunol Lett, 68:383-90

Erb K, Kirman J, Delahunt B, Le Gros G (1999) Infection of mice with M. bovis BCG induces both Th1 and Th2 immune responses in the absence of Interferon-? signalling. Eur Cytokine Netw, 10:147-54

Fraser H, Rincon M, McCoy K, Le Gros G (1999) CTLA4 ligation attenuates AP-1, NFAT and NF-kB activity in activated T cells. Eur J Immunol, 29:838-44

Harris N, Peach R, Ronchese F (1999) CTLA4-Ig inhibits optimal T Helper 2 cell development but not protective immunity or memory response to Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. Eur J Immunol, 29:311-16

Harris N, Ronchese F (1999) The role of B7 co-stimulation in T cell immunity (Review). Immunol Cell Biol, 77:304-11

Hook S, Camberis M, Prout M, Konig M, Zimmer A, Van Heeke G, Le Gros G (1999) Preproenkephalin is a Th2 cytokine but is not required for Th2 differentiation in vitro. Immunol Cell Biol, 77:385-90

Hook S, Cheng P, Holloway J, Riley G, Sawyer G, Le Gros G, Beasley R (1999) Analysis of two IL-4 promoter polymorphisms in a cohort of atopic and asthmatic subjects. Exp Clin Immunogen, 16:33-5

Kirman J, McCoy K, Hook S, Prout M, Delahunt B, Orme I, Frank A, Le Gros G (1999) CTLA-4 blockade enhances the immune response induced by mycobacterial infection but does not lead to increased protection. Infect Immun, 67:3786-92

Lacy P, Mahmudi-Azer S, Bablitz B, Gilchrist M, Fitzharris P, Cheng D, Man SFP, Bokoch GM, Moqbel R (1999) Expression and translocation of Rac2 in eosinophils during superoxide generation. Immunology, 98:244-252


Adilah N, Fitzharris P, Crane J, Siebers R (1998) The effect of frequent vacuum cleaning on house dust mite allergen, Der p 1 in carpets: a pilot study. NZ Med J, 110:438-9

Crane J, Ellis I, Siebers R, Grimmet D, Lewis S, Fitzharris P (1998) A pilot study of heat exchange on mechanical ventilation and heat exchange on house dust mites and Der p 1 in New Zealand homes. Allergy, 53:755-62

Erb K, Holloway J, Sobeck A, Moll H, Le Gros G (1998) Infection of mice with Mycobacterium bovis-Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) suppresses allergen induced airway eosinophilia. J Exp Med, 187:561-569

Erb K, Kirman J, Delahunt B, Chen W, Le Gros G (1998) IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10 are not required for the control of M. bovis BCG infection in mice. Immunol Cell Biol, 76:41

Erb K, Kirman J, Woodfield L, Wilson T, Collins DM, Watson JD, Le Gros G (1998) Identification of potential CD8+ T-cell epitopes of the 19 kDa and AHPC proteins from Mycobacterial tuberculosis - no evidence for CD8+ T-cell priming against the identified peptides after DNA-vaccination of mice. Vaccine, 16:692

Fitzharris P, Douglas R (1998) Allergic rhinitis. NZ Doctor, 19-28

Holloway J, Dunbar R, Riley G, Sawyer G, Fitzharris P, Pearce N, Le Gros G, Beasley R (1998) Association of b 2-adrenergic receptor polymorphisms with severe asthma. Amer J Resp Crit Care Med, in press

Kirman J, Le Gros G (1998) Which is the true regulator of Th2 cell development in allergic immune responses? Clin Exp Allergy, 28:908-10

Le Gros G, Erb K, Harris N, Holloway J, McCoy K, Ronchese F (1998) Immunoregulatory networks in asthma. Clin Exp Allergy, 28:92-6

Martin I, Wickens K, Patchett K, Kent R, Holbrook N, Fitzharris P, Siebers R, Smith S, Lewis S, Crane J, Town G (1998) Cat allergen levels in public places in New Zealand. NZ Med J, 111:356-8

McCoy K, Le Gros G (1998) The role of CTLA-4 in the regulation of T cell immune responses. Immunol Cell Biol (in press)

Miles J, Sawyer G, Lewis S, Pearce N, Fitzharris P, Beasley R (1998) Classification of asthma severity: should the international guidelines be changed? Clin Exp Allergy, 28:1565-70

Riley G, Siebers R, Rains N, Crane J, Fitzharris P (1998) House dust mite allergen on skin and sheets. (Research letter) Lancet, 351:649-50

Sawyer G, Kemp T, Shaw R, Patchett K, Siebers R, Lewis S, Beasley R, Crane J, Fitzharris P (1998) Biological pollution in infant bedding in New Zealand: high allergen exposure during a vulnerable period. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 102:765-70

Siebers R, Fitzharris P, Crane J (1998) Home environment and asthma. (Letter). Thorax, 53:77-78

Siebers R, O'Grady G, Fitzharris P, Crane J (1998) House dust mite accumulation on sheepskins. NZ Med J, 111:408-9

Siebers R, Rains N, Fitzharris P, Crane J (1998) House dust mite allergen, Der p 1 in human hair. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 101:422-3

Wickins K, Fitzharris P, Crane J (1998) Increasing asthma prevalence in New Zealand: understanding the causes. NZ Public Health Rpt, 5:17-20


Harris N, Campbell C, Le Gros G, Ronchese F (1997) Blockade of CD28/B7 co-stimulation by mCTLA4-Hgamma1 inhibits antigen-induced lung eosinophilia but not Th2 cell development or recruitment in the lung. Eur J Immunol, 27:155-61

Harris N, Peach R, Naemura J, Linsley PS, Le Gros G, Ronchese F (1997) CD80 costimulation is essential for the induction of airway eosinophilia. J Exp Med, 185:177-82


Coyle AJ, Bertrand C, Tsuyuki S, Pircher H, Walti S, Le Gros G, Erard F (1996) IL-4 differentiates naïve CD8+ T cells to a "Th2-like" phenotype: a link between viral infections and bronchial asthma. Ann NY Acad Sci, 31:97-103

Erb KJ, Holloway JW, Le gros G (1996) Mast cells in the front line: Innate immunity. Curr. Biol. 6:941-2

Erb KJ, Le Gros G (1996) The role of Th2 type CD4+ T cells and Th2 type CD8+ T cells in asthma. Immunol Cell Biol, 74:206-8

Le Gros G, Schultze N, Walti S, Einsle K, Finkelman F, Kosco-Vilbois MH, Heusser C (1996) The development of IgE+ memory B cells following primary IgE immune responses. Eur J Immunol, 26:3042-7


Coyle AJ, Erard R, Bertrand C, Walti S, Pircher H, Le Gros G (1995) Virus-specific CD8+ cells can switch to interleukin 5 production and induce airway eosinophilia. J Exp Med, 181:1229-33

Coyle AJ, Le Gros G, Bertrand C, Tsuyuki S, Heusser CH, Kopf M, Anderson GP (1995) Interleukin-4 is required for the induction of lung Th2 mucosal immunity. Am J Respir Cel Mol Biol, 13:54-9

Kopf M, Le Gros G, Coyle AJ, Kosco-Vilbois M, Brombacher F (1995) Immune responses of IL-4, IL-5, IL-6 deficient mice. Immunol Rev, 148:45-69

Seder RA, Le Gros G (1995) The functional role of CD8+ T helper type 2 cells. J Exp Med, 181:5-7

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