The immune system strikes a kaleidoscope way to eliminate different types of infections and cancerous cells. While immune deficiency leads to susceptibility to infections and cancer, the trade-off of “strong” immune responses is the risk of autoimmune diseases and inflammation. The maintenance of a competent but balanced immune system is the cornerstone of health. The sophisticated immune defence mechanisms are essentially orchestrated by T cells. Not only can T cells directly kill infected and cancerous cells, but they also, through multiple subsets, fundamentally control the activation and function of other immune cell types.

In the lab of Systems and Translational Immunology Laboratory (STIL), Professor Di Yu and his team are investigating the molecular mechanisms and the landscape by which T cells control the competence and balance of the immune system, intending to design new strategies to modulate the immune system and to treat autoimmune and allergic diseases, infection and cancer. Our research ranges from those at the molecular level to animal disease models and human clinical trials, with the integration of the data-driven systems immunology approach.

Our basic and translational research has been published in high impact journals including NatureNature Immunology, Nature Medicine and Immunity.  Professor Di Yu is a world Highly Cited Researcher (HCR).

  • To understand how follicular helper T cells regulate antibody responses
  • To understand and control the differentiation and function of CD8+ T cells in infection and cancer
  • To develop new appliations of low-dose IL-2 therapy for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases
  • To develop new methods to monitoring personal immune systems

Student projects

  • Enhancing vaccination by regulating the function of follicular helper T cells.
  • How to prevent the dysfunction of CD8+ T cells in cancer
  • Developing IL-21-based immunotherapy
  • New applications of low-dose IL-2 therapy for autoimmune diseases
  • Artificial intelligence for personal immune monitoring
  • NHMRC Investigator Grants (2022–2026) Targeting Follicular Helper T cells to Boost Protective Humoral Immunity

  • ASI AbbVie New Horizons Research Award (2022) Can ferroptosis be targeted to treat lupus

  • Eureka Research Fund for Immunology and Virology (2021) Modelling the immune pathogenesis of COVID-19 severity for target immunotherapy

  • The Bellberry-Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowship (2018-2023)

  • NHMRC project grant (2018-2022): Follicular cytotoxic T cell differentiation and function in infection and B-cell lymphoma

  • NHMRC project grant (2018-2020): Leptin as a natural regulator of TFH cell differentiation and vaccination response