UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND
Research Field: Immunology
Understanding why the immune system fails to fight diseases like cancer is at the heart of Dr
Guimaraes’ research. Through uncovering some of the key mechanisms that disease cells use to
hijack the killing action of a subset of our immune system – Natural Killer (NK) cells, Dr Guimaraes
has proven in pre-clinical models that some drugs can restore their role in the fight against cancer.
He also developed a screening strategy that identifies which patients would benefit from this
Dr Guimaraes’ vision is to create NK cells with the ability to overcome the stealth tactics used by
diseases to evade our natural immune responses. These new ‘super-killer’ cells could be given to
patients, enabling them to generate a stronger immune response thus improving health outcomes.
Dr Guimaraes has also discovered that bacteria and viruses share similar techniques to progress
infection, making his cellular therapy potentially applicable to stop infection progression – holding
enormous potential for improving health.