Dr Claire Jessup

Senior Lecturer

College of Medicine and Public Health

Research expertise

In the iMOD and Islet Biology group we investigate immunomodulation to disrupt disease processes in transplantation, cancer and diabetes.

Research expertise

In the iMOD and Islet Biology group we investigate immunomodulation to disrupt disease processes in transplantation, cancer and diabetes.

place Flinders Medical Centre (6E:118)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

I have a balanced academic role as Head of the iMOD and Islet Biology group within the College of Medicine and Public Health.

My fascination with the immune system began with a research PhD in transplantation immunology (with Prof Keryn Williams) and was further developed during gene therapy projects engineering transplantated tissue to protect itself by secreting immunomodulatory proteins. In 2006 I was awarded an NHMRC Postdoctoral Fellowship to train with Prof Simon Davis in Oxford, UK, where we zoomed in closely on molecular events occuring at the immunological synapse. I returned to Adelaide in 2008 to work with Prof Toby Coates and Prof Claudine Bonder on research running alongside Australia's first trial of clinical pancreatic islet transplantation for Type I diabetes at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. In 2012 I was recruited to Flinders University on a Vice Chancellor's Research Fellowship where I continue to direct research projects on transplantation and immunomodulation, as well as balancing a teaching load in the MD course of the College.

We actively maintain close collaborations with Prof Damien Keating's and Prof Claudine Bonder's research groups.

We acknowledge support from generous funding bodies including NHMRC, Diabetes Australia, Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation, FMC Foundation and Dept of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology

BBiotech(Hons); PhD
Honours, awards and grants

NHMRC Project Grant "Desmoglein-2; a novel lifeline to treat diabetes" CID, 2016-2018

Highest Impact Paper of the Year, Centre for Neuroscience, 2013 (winner); 2017 (runner-up)

Diabetes Australia Research Grant "The role of the calcineurin regulator RCAN1 in pancreatic islet function" CIA, 2013

Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation Grant "The importance of cell-to-cell interactions in juvenile (Type I) diabetes" CIA, 2013

Vice Chancellor's Award for Early Career Researchers, 2012

SA Young Tall Poppy Science Award, 2011

Key responsibilities

I teach into the first two years of the MD Course (Knowledge of Health and Illness) at Flinders University, including Histology and Anatomy practicals.

Research expertise
Biochemistry and cell biology
Research interests

My group's research programme is focussed on harnessing the power of the immune system to modulate complex cellular interactions including those that occur during diabetes development, transplant rejection and oncogenesis. Our work demonstrated the potential of a cellular cotherapy (endothelial progenitor cells) in improving islet transplantation outcomes. We continue to utilize cellular and molecular techniques, diabetes and transplantation models, and confocal microscopy to probe the intricate interactions between insulin-producing beta cells and other cell types within the pancreatic islet. More broadly, projects strive to dissect the interplay between tissue microenvironment, vasculature and the immune system and examine how immunomodulation may be applied in the clinic.

Please contact Dr Rojas-Canales for up-to-date information regarding research projects.

Topic coordinator
MMED9150 Human Homeostasis (MD)
Topic lecturer
MMED3203 Knowledge of Health and Illness 2
MMED3932 Body Systems
MMED3941 Human Musculoskeletal Anatomy
MMED9150 Knowledge of Health and Illness 1
Supervisory interests
Beta cells
Cell signalling
Corneal transplantation
Endothelial function
Immune mechanisms
Insulin secretion
Islet transplantation
Structure/function of vascular beds
Higher degree by research supervision
Associate supervisor: Dendritic cells, transplantation rejection and pancreatic islets (Univ Adelaide) (1), Gene therapy, pancreatic islet transplantation and diabetes (Univ. Adelaide) (1)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Ms Darling Rojas

Thomas E. Starzl Postdoctoral Fellowship in Transplantation Biology - NOV 2011

Ms Amy Hughes

PhD Dean's Commendation - APR 2013


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