QIMR BERGHOFER MEDICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Research Field: Mucosal immunology
Severine Navarro is passionate about learning how the immune
system works, especially the link between bacteria, the gut, parasites and the
development of allergies.
Good bacteria in the gut of newborn babies was shown to be really important
for developing a healthy immune system, while an imbalance of good and bad
bacteria may lead to the development of allergies and asthma later in life.
With the reduced duration of breastfeeding and limited exposure to pathogens,
the developing immune system is deprived of essential stimuli allowing it to
reach optimal tolerogenic functions. Helminths, and hookworms in particular, are
believed to be an essential component of immune education. Indeed, eradication
of helminths contributes to the high allergy prevalence. Helminths are a major
constitutive partner of the gut ecosystem with the microbiome influencing the
Severine’s research focuses on understanding how hookworm infection during
pregnancy and lactation affects the microbiome – gut – immune cross talk
promoting enhanced tolerance.