HIV researcher Dr Lindi Masson joins Burnet

Burnet Institute

20 December, 2019

Image: New Burnet Working Group Head, Dr Lindi Masson

Burnet Institute is delighted Dr Lindi Masson is joining our team to head a new research group in the Life Sciences Discipline, building on her work relating to the vaginal microbiome and its association with increased risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Dr Masson is from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and her research interests also include adverse reproductive health outcomes.

Her expertise in immunology and microbiology includes studying immunological and proteome markers of dysbiosis (microbial imbalance or impairment), as well as understanding the function of vaginal microbiota as potential biotherapeutics.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Burnet in January, primarily because the Institute’s research vision is very closely aligned with my interests, as well as my ongoing clinical work in South Africa,” Dr Masson said.

“My research focuses on identifying and understanding socio-behavioural and biological risk factors for HIV acquisition in women, and developing tools to reduce this risk."

Dr Masson said she’s looking forward to expanding her microbiome-related work and helping to strengthen the existing program at Burnet.

“I’m also excited about the translational work being done at Burnet and very keen to learn more about diagnostics development,” she said.

“The pregnancy cohort studies being run in Papua New Guinea are also phenomenal and I’m eager to find out more and become involved."

Head of Life Sciences, Professor Gilda Tachedjian, said Dr Masson’s research interests are strongly aligned with the Institute’s Disease Elimination and Maternal and Child Health Programs.

“As an early/mid career researcher Lindi has a growing international reputation as a leader in studying the role of genital inflammation in increasing HIV risk,” Professor Tachedjian said.

“She was first author on a seminal paper that first described this association which is now recognised as a major biological factor that attenuates (reduces) the activity to topical pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

“Lindi uses sophisticated proteomics (large-scale study of proteins) techniques to define host and microbiome factors that modulate HIV susceptibility with the goal to develop novel prophylactics to prevent HIV, as well as diagnostics to identify women at high risk of acquiring HIV.

“Lindi is also applying these cutting edge techniques to define how hormonal contraceptives increase HIV risk in women.

“Her research expertise and interests are highly responsive to the MRFF EVE-M Initiative, and epitomise the Burnet 2020 goal of linking life sciences research with studies in vulnerable populations to translate discoveries into sustainable health outcomes.

“I am excited that she will be part of our team.”

Find out how you can support Burnet’s life-saving HIV research.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Gilda Tachedjian

Head of Life Sciences; Head of Tachedjian Laboratory (Retroviral Biology and Antivirals)




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