Dr Jacelyn Mei San Loh

PhD in Molecular Biology


Jacelyn Loh is a National Heart Foundation Research Fellow and is a member of the Infection and Immunity cluster at the University of Auckland. Her PhD in Molecular Medicine was from the University of Auckland and was a post-doctoral fellow in the University of Geneva, Switzerland. On returning to NZ, worked for Plant and Food Research, before returning to the University of Auckland as a Research Fellow.

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.


National Heart Foundation Research Fellow

Areas of expertise

Microbiology and Immunology

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Committee member of the FMHS Post-doc Society

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Loh, J. M. S., Tsai, J.-Y. C., & 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 : the official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 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. S., 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, 7 (1)10.1038/s41598-017-07602-0
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Catherine Tsai, Thomas Proft
  • 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
  • Tsai, J.-Y. C., Loh, J. M. S., Clow, F., Lorenz, N., & Proft, T. (2017). The Group A Streptococcus serotype M2 pilus plays a role in host cell adhesion and immune evasion. Molecular microbiology, 103 (2), 282-298. 10.1111/mmi.13556
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Catherine Tsai
  • Raynes, J., Frost, H., Williamson, D., Young, P., Baker, E., Steemson, J., ... Atatoa Carr, P. (2016). Serological evidence of immune priming by group A streptococci in patients with acute rheumatic fever. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7, 1-6. 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01119
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/30468
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Edward Baker, Thomas Proft, Nikki Moreland, Paul Young, Rod Dunbar, Jeremy Raynes
  • Tsai, C. J.-Y., Loh, J. M. S., & Proft, T. (2016). Galleria mellonella infection models for the study of bacterial diseases and for antimicrobial drug testing. Virulence, 7 (3), 214-229. 10.1080/21505594.2015.1135289
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/29410
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Catherine Tsai
  • Loh, J. M. S., & Proft, T. (2016). Stabilized plasmid-based system for bioluminescent labeling of multiple streptococcal species. Biotechnology letters, 38 (1), 139-143. 10.1007/s10529-015-1967-1
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/28220
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft
  • Zheng, L., Khemlani, A., Lorenz, N., Loh, J. M. S., Langley, R. J., & Proft, T. (2015). Streptococcal 5'-Nucleotidase A (S5nA), a Novel Streptococcus pyogenes Virulence Factor That Facilitates Immune Evasion. The Journal of biological chemistry, 290 (52), 31126-31137. 10.1074/jbc.m115.677443
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/29414
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Ries Langley


Contact details

Office hours


Primary location

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

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