Louise Hafner is a Microbial Geneticist whose current research interest is the development of a vaccine against genital infections of the female reproductive tract caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. She has researched the development of recombinant micro-organisms, especially the gram positive bacterium, Lactobacillus fermentum as vehicles for antigen delivery to the female reproductive tract. Since 2002 she has led research in the chlamydial vaccine program into the area of expression library immunisation (ELI) that has identified a number of novel protective antigens in Chlamydia muridarum that are conserved across C. trachomatis serovars. She has also instigated and successfully pursued studies on mucosal immune function in the guinea pig. Her major contributions in this area include (1) using genetically modified Lactobacilli as live delivery vehicles to vaccinate against genital chlamydial infections and (2) establishing the guinea pig: C.caviae model for in vivo chlamydial protection studies. She has supervised 10 Ph.D., 2 M.S., and 14 Honours students mostly within this vaccine research area. She is currently Chief Investigator on an NHMRC Project Grant entitled “Development of novel vaccine strategies to prevent genital tract chlamydial infection” (with Professor Ken Beagley, Professor Peter Timms, QUT, Professor Dorothy Patton, University of Washington, Dr. Scott Bao, University of Sydney). Professor Hafner’s specific interests include screening for novel chlamydial vaccine candidates by genetic immunization; identifying unique vaccine candidates using a novel in silico approach; and identifying effective adjuvants and delivery systems for novel chlamydial antigens in the guinea pig: C.caviae model that provides protection against genital chlamydial infection.
Biography Updated on 22 February 2008