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)

  • Gasser, O., Sharples, K. J., Barrow, C., Williams, G. M., Bauer, E., Wood, C. E., ... Jones, J. (2017). 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 : CII10.1007/s00262-017-2085-9
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Geoffrey Williams, Michael Findlay, Vicki Hinder, 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. R. (2017). Immunofluorescence identifies distinct subsets of endothelial cells in the human liver. Scientific Reports, 710.1038/srep44356
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33743
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Adam Bartlett, Kathy Ruggiero, Anthony Phillips
  • Gane, E., Gaggar, A., Nguyen, A. H., Subramanian, G. M., McHutchison, J. G., Schwabe, C., & Dunbar, R. (2017). A phase1 study evaluating anti-PD-1 treatment with or without GS-4774 in HBeAg negative chronic hepatitis B patients. Paper presented at International Liver Congress / 52nd Annual Meeting of the European-Association-for-the-Study-of-the-Liver, Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS. 19 April - 23 April 2017. JOURNAL OF HEPATOLOGY. (pp. 2).
  • Strauss, O., Phillips, A., Ruggiero, K., Bartlett, A. S., & Dunbar, P. R. (2017). Immunofluorescence identifies distinct subsets of endothelial cells in the human liver. Paper presented at International Liver Congress / 52nd Annual Meeting of the European-Association-for-the-Study-of-the-Liver, Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS. 19 April - 23 April 2017. JOURNAL OF HEPATOLOGY. (pp. 1).
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kathy Ruggiero, Adam Bartlett
  • Lorenz, N., Loef, E. J., Kelch, I. D., Verdon, D. J., Black, M. M., Middleditch, M. J., ... Dunbar, P. R. (2016). Plasmin and regulators of plasmin activity control the migratory capacity and adhesion of human T cells and dendritic cells by regulating cleavage of the chemokine CCL21. Immunology and cell biology, 94 (10), 955-963. 10.1038/icb.2016.56
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Evert Jan Loef, Scott Graham, Nigel Birch, David Greenwood, Anna Brooks, Martin Middleditch, Inken Kelch
  • Meidinger, S., Chen, J., Feisst, V., Locke, M., & Dunbar, R. (2016). A twist on keloid pathogenesis. Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the European-Society-for-Dermatological-Research (ESDR), Munich, GERMANY. 7 September - 10 September 2016. JOURNAL OF INVESTIGATIVE DERMATOLOGY. (pp. 1).
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Vaughan Feisst, Sarah Meidinger
  • Verdon, D. J., Brooks, A. E. S., Sheppard, H. M., Ho, Y. J., & Dunbar, P. R. (2016). Antigen-specific CD8(+) human memory stem T-cell clones: decoupling T-cell differentiation and division. Paper presented at International Congress of Immunology (ICI), Melbourne, AUSTRALIA. 21 August - 26 August 2016. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY. (pp. 2).
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Anna Brooks, Hilary Sheppard