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DR Zhenjun Chen


  • MHC-TCR interaction (T cell immunity)
  • Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) immunity (Infections, vaccine development)
  • Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) immunity (Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) immunity)
  • Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) immunity (Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) immunity)



Selected publications



Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne 2001
  • MMed, Tongji Medical College 1989
  • BSc, 1986
  • BSc, Hebei Normal University 1986



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are T cells that recognise metabolic by-products from vitamin B2 (riboflavin) biosynthesis, an essential metabolic pathway for many microbes. These cells, which are enriched at mucosal sites, including lungs, liver and intestines, where they conduct immune surveillance at sites exposed to potential pathogens and respond to invading pathogens. We have evidence that they play an important role in immune protection and when primed MAIT cells confer better and faster control of bacteria which may be a valuable part of future vaccines for many pathogenic microbes.

    T cells are activated by detection of antigen, plus co-stimulatory signals and cytokines, and the combination of these signals skews them towards a particular response, geared towards protecting against a particular type of invading pathogen (e.g. intracellular or extracellular bacteria, or fungi). Our preliminary data shows that MAIT cells differ from other T cells in the signals needed for activation. They also have different characteristics in different organs, or in the same tissue in response to different pathogens.

    We have projects to investigate how different MAIT cell priming methods protect against different infections in our established microbila infection models; how MAIT cells modulate other immune cells, contribute to tissue damage repair, allergies and even kill cancer cells.