JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY
Research Field: Microbiology & Immunology
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading infectious cause of death globally, claiming approximately 1.5 million
lives annually. Treatment of TB is very expensive, takes several months, and many strains of the
bacteria have already become resistant to the drugs used to treat TB.
The only licensed TB vaccine, Bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG), prevents TB in children, but shows low
eﬃcacy against TB in adults and is not recommended for use in people with impaired immunity.
Despite its introduction in 1921, the mechanisms of BCG-induced protection against TB are largely
Dr Kupz’s research focuses on developing a better TB vaccine that can replace BCG. He aims to
understand why BCG does not protect adults and which components of our immune system are
necessary to fight TB.
To reveal immune parameters that correlate with protection against TB, he uses blood samples from
humans undergoing BCG vaccination and animal models of TB and immunosuppressive conditions,
such as type 2 diabetes and HIV/AIDS. His recent research has informed the development of a
prototype modified BCG strain that aﬀords better protection against TB in animal models.