The immune system strikes a kaleidoscope way to eliminate different types of infections and cancerous cells. While immune deficiency leads to susceptibility to infections and cancer, the trade-off of “strong” immune responses is the risk of autoimmune diseases and inflammation. Maintenance of a competent but balanced immune system is the cornerstone of health. The sophisticated immune defence mechanisms are essentially orchestrated by T cells. Not only can T cells directly kill infected and cancerous cells, but they also, through multiple subsets, fundamentally control the activation and function of other immune cell types. Our goal is to target T cells so that immune responses can be efficiently modulated to treat human diseases.

In the lab of T-cell Immune Mechanism, Monitoring and Modulation (TIM3), Dr Di Yu and his team are investigating the molecular mechanisms by which T cells control the competence and balance of the immune system, with the aim to design new strategies to modulate the immune system to treat autoimmune and allergic diseases, infection and cancer. Our research approaches range from those at the molecular level to animal disease models and human clinical trials. The results from our research on basic immunology, autoimmunity, infection and cancer have been published in high impact journals including Nature, Nature Immunology, Nature Medicine and Immunity.  Dr Di Yu is a world Highly Cited Researcher (HCR).  

  • Professor Di Yu

    Professorial Research Fellow
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Dr Zhian Chen

    Research Officer
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Dr Joseph Yunis

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Dr Yang Yang

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute

  • To understand how follicular helper T cells regulate antibody responses
  • To understand and control the differentiation and function of CD8+ T cells in infection and cancer
  • To develop new appliations of low-dose IL-2 therapy for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases
  • To develop new methods to monitoring personal immune systems

Student projects

  • Enhancing vaccination by regulating the function of follicular helper T cells.
  • How to prevent the dysfunction of CD8+ T cells in cancer
  • Developing IL-21-based immunotherapy
  • New applications of low-dose IL-2 therapy for autoimmune diseases
  • Artificial intelligence for personal immune monitoring

  • The Bellberry-Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowship
  • NHMRC project grant (2018-2021): Follicular cytotoxic T cell differentiation and function in infection and B-cell lymphoma
  • NHMRC project grant (2018-2020): Leptin as a natural regulator of TFH cell differentiation and vaccination response