Human health and longevity are possible only when the body’s immune system functions well, clearing foreign pathogens and ‘remembering’ them to provide ongoing protection. Long-lived memory B-cells and antibody-secreting plasma cells are produced during the body’s initial response to infection and are capable of persisting long after the infection has resolved, thus offering immune memory.
Dr Kim Jacobson’s research looks at the network of molecules that orchestrates the immune system’s ability to tailor its response to specific pathogens, without resulting in an immune disorder. Her work has identified the key molecule allowing antibody-producing plasma cells to move through the body and occupy survival niches, from which they can pump out antibodies that protect us from reinfection.
Kim’s work has proved popular with the public, with one of her articles for The Conversation, republished around the world. She has also provided science consultation for a book shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and has presented to state and federal politicians on the issues facing women in STEM.