Dr. Nicole Webster – Education Officer

Nicole-Webster-staff-profileEmail: nwebster@gtac.edu.au
Phone: +61 (3) 9340 3611

I have been working for more than 16 years as a medical researcher in the field of Immunology and Cell Biology. During this time I worked on a number of exciting projects including investigating how mothers suppress their immune response to allow them to successfully maintain their pregnancy. During my first postdoctoral position I spent time in Italy collaborating on a new technique for efficiently transferring multiple human genes which modulate the immune response into animal tissues. These tissues can potentially be used to improve the success of organ transplantation.

As an American Foundation of AIDS Research (amFAR) Fellow, I investigated how the infection of blood monocytes, which give rise to tissue macrophages, is involved in establishing reservoirs of HIV-1 in sites such as the brain. Even when antiretroviral therapy successfully results in undetectable viral titres in the blood, this tricky virus is able to hide in sites such as the brain preventing its complete eradication. I have also investigated how viral infections, such as rotavirus can impact the time of onset of autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, in children.

I have moved into a teaching role after completing my Masters of Teaching at The University of Melbourne as I have a passion for making the wonderful science we do here in Australia and around the world more accessible to students. My hope is that I can make a contribution to improving scientific literacy and science citizenship in our community particularly by utilising inquiry based learning approaches.