Head, Human Immunology
PhD DSc FRCPI FAA
Professor Holt established the Division of Cell Biology at the Institute's inception in 1990, with his research group's main focus being on the functioning of the paediatric immune system and its role in inflammatory diseases in there lung and airways. His group’s major discoveries include ELISPOT technology for quantitation of antibody and cytokine secreting cells, the role of Alveolar Macrophages in controlling the intensity of T-cell responses in the lung, the phenomenon of immune tolerance induction to inhaled non-pathogenic proteins (such as pollens) which normally protects against respiratory allergy, the Dendritic Cell network throughout lung and airway tissues and its role in regulation of local immune surveillance, and the primary role of developmental defects in immune function(s) in genetic susceptibility to early onset allergy and asthma in childhood. He and his colleagues continue to pursue basic research on the immunological mechanisms that underpin these processes, in conjunction with translational studies utilizing these findings to develop and trial new immunotherapeutic approaches for primary and secondary prevention of asthma in children. These studies involve a network of clinical and scientific collaborators in Australia, Europe and the US.