Dhilshan Jayasinghe, Hannah Sloane, Samuel Liwei Leong, Lawton Murdolo, Stephanie Gras, Anurag Adhikari, Emma Grant, Jamie Tuiebo, Georgia Dow, Janesha Maddumage, Cynthia Wanjiku Muigai


Christopher Szeto, Emma Grant, Samuel Liwei Leong, Lawton Murdolo, Stephanie Gras, Dhilshan Jayasinghe, Christian Lobos, Dimitra Chatzileontiadou, Andrea Nguyen, You Min Ahn, Ha Pham.


Christopher Szeto, Dhilshan Jayasinghe, Dimitra Chatzileontiadou, Stephanie Gras, Brianna Hans, Emma Grant, Andrea Nguyen

GRAS LAB 2020 – COVID restriction so could not take group picture


Christian Lobos, Hayden Robson, Shivangi, Ganatra, Hannah Sloane, Dimitra Chatzileontiadou, Andrea Nguyen, Stephanie Gras, Hanim Halim, Emma Grant, Christopher Szeto, Dhilshan Jayasinghe

Prof. Stephanie Gras (Lab Head, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, LIMS Deputy Director)

Professor Stephanie Gras is a Laboratory Head and NHMRC Senior Research Fellow at La Trobe University within the Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry and the Deputy Director of La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS). She is leading a laboratory of 16 members (staff and students) working on the T cell response towards infections with a primary focus on HIV and influenza. After a PhD in France focused on Structural Biology and T cells, she moved to Australia in 2007 to join Prof. Rossjohn lab at Monash University. A decade later she has established her research group focused on the understanding of the molecular mechanism and key event of an effective immune response.

She has successfully secured funding from the ARC, NHMRC, MRFF to support her lab, as well as been awarded the Dean’s award for Early Career researcher, the Georgina Sweet Award for Women in Quantitative Biomedical Science, and the Sandy Mathieson medal. Stephanie has also been extremely successful at presenting her work at both national and international meeting, as well as publishing her research in high profile journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Immunology, Immunity and Science Immunology (see publications). Stephanie has a passion for science and love to communicate with the scientific community as well as the public about her exciting findings.

Outside the lab, Steph enjoy travelling, catching up with friend, and playing call of duty!

Twitter @GrasLab

Linkedin Stephanie Gras

Dr. Emma Grant (ARC DECRA fellow, Research Fellow)

Dr Emma Grant is an ARC DECRA Fellow (former NHMRC Early Career Fellow) working at at La Trobe University within the Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry and LIMS, Victoria, Australia. Dr Grant completed her PhD studies, “Understanding immune responses to Influenza viruses” in 2015 at Melbourne University under the supervision of Prof. Katherine Kedzierska. Following her PhD, she was awarded an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship, undertaking her first 2 years at Cardiff University in Wales, UK, under the mentorship or Prof. David Price. She has since returned to work at Monash University, firstly within the Rossjohn Laboratory under Prof. Jamie Rossjohn, and more recently in the newly established Gras laboratory under the mentorship of then A/Prof. Stephanie Gras. Her interests remain within anti-viral immunity and her research focuses on understanding key correlates of immune protection against different viral infections.

Outside the lab, Emma enjoy art & craft, boardgame, and keep busy with her little one.

Twitter @Emma_J_Grant

Dr. Dimitra Chatzileontiadou (Research Fellow)

Dr Dimitra Chatzileontiadou

Dimitra is a postdoctoral research fellow working working at at La Trobe University within the Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry and LIMS, Victoria, Australia. She graduated with a Bachelor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Democritus University of Thrace in Greece, and moved to the University of Thessaly in Greece to do her Master of Science on Molecular Biology and Genetics applications – diagnostic markers, in the Structural and Functional Biochemistry laboratory, at the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology under the supervision of A/Prof. Nikolaos Balatsos. Following her Master’s degree she completed her doctoral studies in the same laboratory performing biochemical studies on human Angiogenin under the supervision of Prof. Demetrios Leonidas. She was then awarded an IKY Fellowship for excellence of postgraduate studies in Greece – SIEMENS program 2017, as a research fellow in the same laboratory. Dimitra then moved to Australia to work at Monash University, firstly within the Rossjohn Laboratory under Prof. Jamie Rossjohn, and more recently in the newly established Gras laboratory under the mentorship of A/Prof. Stephanie Gras.

Dimitra is currently working on the field of anti-viral immunity using multisdisciplinary approaches, including biochemistry, molecular biology, crystallography and cellular/functional assays, in order to understand the immune system actions when facing with viral infections.

Outside the lab, Dimitra is an amazing actress and is involved in multiple play during the year. Next objective becoming director!

Twitter @DimitraChatzil1

Dr. Anurag Adhikari

Anurag is an infectious disease immunologist, who studies the functional aspect of human adaptive immunity against infections. Anurag completed his undergraduate in biotechnology from Purbanchal University, Nepal and his PhD in pathology from the University of New South Wales, Australia. During his PhD, Anurag studied the polyclonal antibody effector functions including the antibody-mediated neutralisation and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis in RNA virus infections like the Hepatitis C virus and SARS-CoV-2. In addition to viral infections, he has worked to understand bacterial infection (Orientia tsutsugamushi that causes scrub typhus disease) associated humoral and innate immune response in Nepalese patients.

Besides the host immune response against different pathogen, Anurag has also worked to characterize the genomic architect of neglected tropical disease-causing pathogens including the Dengue and Orientia tsutsugamushi. Anurag’s dual work on host response and pathogen characterisation has yielded in numerous scholarly research articles and international awards/fellowships. Based on his translational pathogen characterization research, Anurag has developed new nucleic acid amplification-based protocols that are currently in use to clinically diagnose the dengue infection, scrub typhus disease, and pulmonary tuberculosis in Nepal.

In addition to the humoral immune response and pathogen characterization, he has a special interest in pathogen-specific T-cell induction, proliferation, and maintenance after infection and immunization.

Outside the lab, Anurag loves to hike, run and cycle long distances

Twitter @anura_Adhikari

Dhilshan Jayasinghe (Research assistant)

Dhilshan Jayasinghe is a Senior Research Assistant working at at La Trobe University within the Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry and LIMS, Victoria, Australia. Dhilshan completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Monash University in 2014. He then completed an Honours degree at the Hudson Institute, investigating a cancer induced mouse model “MYC overexpression drives distinct subsets of Small Cell Lung Cancer”. Following this Dhilshan was employed within the Rossjohn Laboratory in Stephanie Gras’ team. Recently Dhilshan has recently moved to work in A/Prof Stephanie Gras’ newly established lab. Dhilshan specialises in protein expression in both mammalian and bacterial systems, purification and crystallography techniques.   

Outside the lab, Dhilshan is an avid cricket fan, supporting Sri Lanka. He is also into many health and fitness activities, and enjoys going to the gym.  

Twitter @djayy_93

Dr. Andrea Nguyen (Research Fellow)

Dr Andrea Nguyen

Andrea completed her Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Hons) at La Trobe University in 2016. Andrea was a Research assistant with Stephanie for 2 years at Monash University. In 2019 she started her PhD at Monash University investigating new influenza epitopes. In 2020, she took on the challenge to work on the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and learn T cell immunology on the top of biochemistry and structural biology. In December 2022 she has obtained her PhD with flying colour and 14 published papers !!! She is now a Research Fellow in between the Gras Lab at La Trobe University and the Mackay Lab at the Doherty Institute (Melbourne University).

Outside the lab, Andrea enjoy catching up with friends and trying out new food.

Twitter @AndreaTNguyen

Hannah Sloane (Research Assistant)

Hannah Sloane is a new research assistant in the Gras Laboratory. She completed her Bachelor of Science Honours “An Investigation of the CD4+ T cell response to the influenza virus” under the supervision of Prof. Stephanie Gras. She previously completed a small research project “An Investigation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Antigen Presentation” in the Rossjohn Laboratory, under Prof. Gras’ supervision, during her Bachelor of Science (Microbiology & Immunology). Hannah has also been a laboratory demonstrator and tutor of undergraduate level Immunology at Monash University.

Outside of the lab, Hannah enjoys painting outside, reading and creative writing.

Janesha Maddumage (Research Fellow)

Janesha completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka majoring molecular biology and biochemistry. After graduating she worked as a temporary teaching assistant in the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo for one year. Then she came to Australia to do a Master of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics degree at La Trobe University, which passed with a first class. Her master’s thesis was based on cloning, expression and purification of recombinant human SDHAF4 for antibody production and studying SDHA assembly complexes which was conducted under the supervision of. Dr. Kaye Truscott and Dr. David Dougan. Then she did her PhD with Prof. Marc Kvansakul, and co-supervised by Prof. Patrick Humbert at La Trobe University, and investigated cell polarity regulation in an ancient organism called Trichoplax.  After successfully completing her PhD, in 2023 she joined Prof. Stephanie Gras as a research officer.

Outside of the lab, Janesha like to read and play with my two cats Darcy and Lizzy.

Twitter @JaneDazzy

Lawton Murdolo (PhD student)

Lawton joined the lab in 2021 for his Master degree working on SARS-CoV-2 mutation and their impact on the T cell recognition. During his Master year, Lawton determine the very first structure of HLA-A29 molecule, which was a tricky molecule to crystallise. His hard work paid of and he manage to obtain the structure of HLA-A29 in complex with a Spike derived peptide from SARS-CoV-2 that can activate a strong T cell response. This work was important and helped us understand why a single mutation in the Omicron variant of the virus lead to a complete abrogation of the T cell recognition. His work was published in Nature Communications and he was invited to present at the Combio conference. Following on his successful Master year, degree awarded, he received an RTP PhD scholarship and started his PhD with the Gras Lab at the end of 2022.

Outside the lab, Lawton is a fantastic Goal Keeper at Ice Hockey.

Twitter @LawtonMurdolo

Samuel Liwei Leong (PhD student)

Samuel Liwei Leong undertook a bachelor’s degree of biomedicine at La Trobe University in the Gras Lab (3rd year biochemistry and microbiology). He has an aspiration to become a medical scientist and to complete an honours and PhD degree immunology or in the relevant field. With the goal of joining the Australian Army Reserves as a medical officer (part-time). In 2022, Sam did his honours degree under Dr. Emma Grant’s supervision with his work focusing on the discovery of new influenza virus epitopes that can stimulate T cells. After a very successful honours year, Sam has been awarded an RTP PhD scholarship and will start his PhD in February 2023 in the Gras Lab still under Dr. Emma Grant’s supervision.

Outside the lab, Sam like to work on cars, play basketball and workout in the gym.

You Min Ahn (PhD student)

You Min Ahn

You Min first undertook her Summer internship with the Gras Lab in January 2021, just after we moved to La Trobe University. This placement was part of her Bachelor of Science from Monash University with major in Biochemistry and Genetics. Then You Min was a casual assistant in the lab, before starting her honours degree at La Trobe University in 2022. Her project was focused on how multiple HLA molecules could present and bind to the same SARS-CoV-2 peptides.

Outside the lab, You Min is fan of Justin Bieber, great Karaoke singer, and plays violin.

Georgia Dow (Masters Student)

Georgia is currently undertaking the Master of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics part time at La Trobe University, beginning the research component in 2023 with the Gras lab.

Outside the lab, Georgia is an avid reader, favouring fantasy novels and thrillers, is constantly listening to true crime podcasts and loves to dance.

Cynthia Wanjiku Muigai (Masters Student)

Cynthia is currently a student at La Trobe university undertaking a Masters in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics and recently joined the Gras Lab for the research part of her course. She has an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. her research project will be focusing on the influenza virus where I will be investigating CD8+ T cell response to a dominant immunogenic peptide.

Outside the lab, Cynthia enjoy reading books, listening to music, or watching a game of football.

Twitter @CynKar18

Jamie Tuiebo (Masters Student)

Jamie is currently carrying out her Master’s degree in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics at La Trobe University. She completed her Bachelor’s in Science majoring in Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne, and she love to learn about Immunology . She joined the Gras Lab in 2023 to complete the research component of her Masters.

Outside the lab, Jamie like to read books/manga, paint, and play games on my Switch.

Twitter @jamietuibeo97