Professor Rod Dunbar

Research | Current

  • Cancer vaccines
  • Cancer therapy
  • Cellular immunology

Professor Rod Dunbar holds both a medical degree (MBChB) and a PhD from the University of Otago in New Zealand. He spent 6 years as a post-doctoral research fellow in human immunology at the University of Oxford, before returning to New Zealand in 2002 under a Wellcome Trust International Senior Research Fellowship. In 2008 he was appointed the Director of the Maurice Wilkins Centre, a national Centre of Research Excellence that promotes a multi-disciplinary approach to the discovery of new medicines and vaccines. Since 2009 he has also co-directed a programme within the University of Auckland to accelerate its research related to human therapeutics (the Biopharma Thematic Research Initiative).

Rod's lab has a primary focus on human cellular immunology, especially understanding how T cell responses to tumours arise and how these T cell responses can be stimulated in cancer therapy. The lab has particular expertise in the use of flow cytometry and immunofluorescence microscopy to study T cells and antigen-presenting cells in human tissues, and in analysing the function of these cells in primary cell culture models. These techniques are also employed by the lab to characterise mesenchymal stem cells in human tissues, and examine their role in human disease and their potential in cell therapy and tissue engineering. Rod's lab interacts with a wide collaborative network with particular strengths in organic and medicinal chemistry, tissue imaging, and computer modelling.

Areas of expertise

Proteomics and Biomedicine

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Schwabe, C., Rosenstock, B., Doan, T., Hamilton, P., Dunbar, P. R., Eleftheraki, A. G., ... Padula, S. J. (2018). Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Pharmacodynamics of Multiple Rising Doses of BI 655064, an Antagonistic Anti-CD40 Antibody, in Healthy Subjects: A Potential Novel Treatment for Autoimmune Diseases. Journal of clinical pharmacology, 58 (12), 1566-1577. 10.1002/jcph.1278
  • Meidinger, S., Brooks, A., Lehnert, K., Feisst, V., Locke, M., & Dunbar, R. (2018). CD26+FAP+ fibroblasts increase ECM expression in keloid scarring. Paper presented at International Investigative Dermatology (IID) Meeting, Orlando, FL. 16 May - 19 May 2018. JOURNAL OF INVESTIGATIVE DERMATOLOGY. (pp. 1).
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sarah Meidinger, Anna Brooks, Vaughan Feisst
  • Nie, T., Zhao, S., Mao, L., Yang, Y., Sun, W., Lin, X., ... Li, P. (2018). The natural compound, formononetin, extracted from Astragalus membranaceus increases adipocyte thermogenesis by modulating PPARγ activity. British journal of pharmacology, 175 (9), 1439-1450. 10.1111/bph.14139
  • Hanson-Manful, P., Whitcombe, A. L., Young, P. G., Atatoa Carr, P. E., Bell, A., Didsbury, A., ... Moreland, N. J. (2018). The novel Group A Streptococcus antigen SpnA combined with bead-based immunoassay technology improves streptococcal serology for the diagnosis of acute rheumatic fever. Journal of Infection, 76 (4), 361-368. 10.1016/j.jinf.2017.12.008
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Paul Young, Nikki Moreland, Alicia Didsbury, Alana Whitcombe
  • Eom, J., Feisst, V., Ranjard, L., Loomes, K., Damani, T., Jackson-Patel, V., ... Dunbar, P. R. (2018). Visualization and Quantification of Mesenchymal Cell Adipogenic Differentiation Potential with a Lineage Specific Marker. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE (133).10.3791/57153
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Pritika Narayan, Vaughan Feisst, Kerry Loomes, Tanvi Damani, Michelle Locke, Hilary Sheppard
  • Gasser, O., Sharples, K. J., Barrow, C., Williams, G. M., Bauer, E., Wood, C. E., ... Jones, J. (2018). A phase I vaccination study with dendritic cells loaded with NY-ESO-1 and α-galactosylceramide: Induction of polyfunctional T cells in high-risk melanoma patients. Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, 67 (2), 285-298. 10.1007/s00262-017-2085-9
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Geoffrey Williams, Michael Findlay, Margaret Brimble
  • Verdon, D., Brooks, A. E., Gaggar, A., Woo, J., Subramanian, M., Schwabe, C., ... Dunbar, R. (2017). Immunological assessment of HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B patient responses following anti-PD-1 treatment.. Paper presented at 68th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-for-the-Study-of-Liver-Diseases (AASLD) / Liver Meeting, Washington, DC. 20 October - 24 October 2017. HEPATOLOGY. (pp. 1).
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Anna Brooks
  • Strauss, O., Phillips, A., Ruggiero, K., Bartlett, A., & Dunbar, P. (2017). Immunofluorescence identifies distinct subsets of endothelial cells in the human liver. Scientific Reports, 7.10.1038/srep44356
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Adam Bartlett, Kathy Ruggiero, Anthony Phillips


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 2010
New Zealand

Web links