Jodie completed her Bachelor of Biomedical Science in Human Genetics with honours from Victoria University of Wellington. After joining the Malaghan Institute as a research officer in the Asthma, Allergy and Parasitic Disease programme, led by Professor Graham Le Gros, Jodie is now completing her PhD within the same group looking at characterising the allergic immune response.
Jodie’s PhD is funded by the University of Otago and the Colin Williamson Trust.
Our immune system can be categorised broadly into two main categories: type 1 immune responses involve our classical response to viruses and bacteria and type 2 responses which include protection against parasitic worms. However, type 2 responses can also manifest into allergic diseases when responding to a substance that should be harmless. My research interests are centralised around the type 2 immune response, particularly focused in allergies.
For me, this research is incredibly rewarding, from both the fundamental science stand point and the therapeutic one. It is clear that the more we understand about this immune response, the better the therapy development will be, which we hope will relieve debilitating disease in affected people.
Type 2 immune responses have protective effects such as mediating anti-helminth immunity and worm expulsion, regulation of dangerous type 1 responses, tissue and wound repair and general maintenance of immune homeostasis. Conversely, type 2 response can be pathogenic as seen in allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis, asthma, rhinitis and substance allergies, fibrosis and the limitation of protective type 1 immune responses against a type 1 pathogen such as viruses, bacteria or cancer.
My project aims to characterise the function of a key cytokine which may be responsible for the pathogenesis of type 2 diseases. In addition, we aim to investigate other key cellular responses to aid in elucidating the fundamental immune regulating mechanisms driving Th2 pathology. Potential outcomes will be improved understanding of which cell types participate in memory immune responses and the specific role that the cytokine and its target tissues pay in immunity and in allergic inflammatory diseases of the skin, lung and gut.