Dr Jacelyn Mei San Loh

PhD in Molecular Biology


I am a Senior Research Fellow and member of the Infection and Immunity cluster in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology. Prior to this appointment, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, with a research focus on Glioma immunotherapy. After returning to NZ, I worked at Plant and Food Research studying the immune benefits of "superfruits".

Research | Current

Streptococcus pyogenes or Group A streptococcus (GAS) is a gram positive bacterium that can cause a wide variety of diseases ranging from pharyngitis and tonsillitis to severe invasive diseases, such as necrotizing fasciitis (“flesh eating disease”) and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. Streptococcal sequela, which includes glomerulonephritis and acute rheumatic fever, are often complications of streptococcal infection and remain a significant problem in NZ. My Present research into the pili (very thin, hair-like structures protruding from the surface of the bacterial cell) of GAS investigates the potential use of the pilus as a target for vaccine development. My results have shown that pili proteins are highly immunogenic and can elicit strong antibody responses in mice and rabbits. My work also focuses on the development of bioluminescent GAS strains for high-throughput monitoring of immune responses, as well as development of mouse infection models for vaccination studies.

Teaching | Current


Postgraduate supervision

Samuel Blanchett (PhD)

Kar Yan Soh (PhD)

Haniyeh Aghababa (PhD)

Tiger Aspell (PhD)


National Heart Foundation Research Fellow

Areas of expertise

Microbiology and Immunology

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Committee member of the FMHS Post-doc Society

Member of the Australasian Society for Immunology

Member of the NZ Microbiological Society

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Young, P. G., Raynes, J. M., Loh, J. M., Proft, T., Baker, E. N., & Moreland, N. J. (2019). Group A Streptococcus T Antigens Have a Highly Conserved Structure Concealed under a Heterogeneous Surface That Has Implications for Vaccine Design. Infection and immunity, 87 (6).10.1128/IAI.00205-19
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Paul Young, Nikki Moreland
  • Soh, K. Y., Loh, J. M. S., & Proft, T. (2018). Orthologues of Streptococcus pyogenes nuclease A (SpnA) and Streptococcal 5'-nucleotidase A (S5nA) found in Streptococcus iniae. Journal of biochemistry, 164 (2), 165-171. 10.1093/jb/mvy039
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft
  • Jones, S., Moreland, N. J., Zancolli, M., Raynes, J., Loh, J. M. S., Smeesters, P. R., ... Goldblatt, D. (2018). Development of an opsonophagocytic killing assay for group a streptococcus. Vaccine, 36 (26), 3756-3763. 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.05.056
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: John Fraser, Nikki Moreland
  • Wagachchi, D., Tsai, J.-Y. C., Chalmers, C., Blanchett, S., Loh, J. M. S., & Proft, T. (2018). PilVax - a novel peptide delivery platform for the development of mucosal vaccines. Scientific Reports, 8, 1-12. 10.1038/s41598-018-20863-7
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Catherine Tsai
  • Loh, J., Tsai, J.-Y., & Proft, T. (2017). The ability of Group A streptococcus to adhere to immortalized human skin versus throat cell lines does not reflect their predicted tissue tropism. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 23 (9), 677.e1-677.e3. 10.1016/j.cmi.2017.03.011
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Catherine Tsai, Thomas Proft
  • Loh, J. M., Lorenz, N., Tsai, C. J.-Y., Khemlani, A. H. J., & Proft, T. (2017). Mucosal vaccination with pili from Group A Streptococcus expressed on Lactococcus lactis generates protective immune responses. Scientific Reports, 710.1038/s41598-017-07602-0
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Catherine Tsai, Thomas Proft, Natalie Lorenz
  • Lorenz, N., Loh, J. M. S., Moreland, N. J., & Proft, T. (2017). Development of a high-throughput opsonophagocytic assay for the determination of functional antibody activity against Streptococcus pyogenes using bioluminescence. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 134, 58-61. 10.1016/j.mimet.2017.01.010
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Nikki Moreland, Natalie Lorenz
  • Chalmers, C., Khemlani, A. H. J., Sohn, C. R., Loh, J. M. S., Tsai, C. J.-Y., & Proft, T. (2017). Streptococcus pyogenes nuclease A (SpnA) mediated virulence does not exclusively depend on nuclease activity. Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection10.1016/j.jmii.2017.09.006
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Catherine Tsai


Contact details

Office hours


Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 502 - Bldg 502
Level 3, Room 301
New Zealand

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