Infectious Diseases and Innate Immune System (Viral Hepatitis)
Professor Kumar Visvanathan is a specialist in infectious diseases and the immunology of the innate immune system with a career spanning over three decades. He is currently the Clinical Director of Medicine & Emergency Services and Co-Director of the Immunology Research Centre at St. Vincent's Hospital (Melbourne).
Following his medical undergraduate degree in 1986, Kumar, completed his PhD thesis at the University of New South Wales and undertook postgraduate work at Rockefeller University in New York. He came back to Australia in 2000 and started his laboratory in innate immunity at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute moving to Monash University and Monash Medical Centre in 2005 before moving more recently to the University of Melbourne and St.Vincents Hopital in 2012. He developed prominence through his innovative research on the innate immunity involving sepsis and viral hepatitis (Hepatology, 2003). This original research was the first to examine innate immunity in viral hepatitis and initiated new ways of understanding the immunology of hepatitis and the importance of the work has generated numerous scientific investigations into the area. He is the recipient of multiple NH&MRC and ACH2 grants and NH&MRC scholarships, most notably, the prestigious Frank Fenner Award for Advanced Research in Infectious Disease in 2006, which is the highest honor granted by the Australiasian Society of Infectious Diseases. To date he has supervised over 10 clinicians who have undertaken their PhD training in his laboratory. His expertise has seen him author 4 books, chapters, and over 90 peer-reviewed original research publications. He has a number of international collaborations with Fudan University in China and investigators in New Zealand, the United States, Italy and China.
He is a long term editor for the Journal of Inflammation Research. He played a major role in organizing a number of international conferences including being o
European Association Study of Liver.
Member 2009 -
American Association Study of Liver.
Member 2008 -
Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Member 1999 -
American Society of Microbiology.
Member 1994 -
Australian Society of Infectious Diseases.
Member 1993 -
Australian Society for HIV Medicine.
Member 1992 -
Breast Cancer Research Foundation, ($US 225, 000) 'Susceptibility to Breast Cancer and Other Health-Reated Outcomes in Women with a Famility History and/or BRCA1/2 Mutation: Combined Progress Report/New Proposal', 2011-2012.
Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Research ($AUD 180, 000) 'The Innate immunological determinants of spontaneous clearance and reinfection in HIV positive men who have sex with men acutely infected with Hepatitis C', 2013.
National Health and Medical Research Council, ($AUD 491,706) 'Can Hepatitis B therapy enhance the progression to Liver Cancer?', 2011-2013.
National Health and Medical Research Council, ($AUD 575,048) 'Understanding how Golden Staph Causes Disease', 2011-2014.
Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Research ($AUD 165,000) 'Interferon stimulating gene (ISG) induction in the liver of HCV infected patients pre and post treatment', 2013-2015.
National Health and Medical Research Council, ($AUD 504,786) 'Studies of the Role of the Hepatocyte in the Response to HCV Infection', 2013-2015.
National Health and Medical Research Council, ($AUD 513,194) 'Human Amnion Epithelial Cells and Liver Repair', 2014-2016.
National Health and Medical Research Council, ($AUD 1,209,585.10) 'A study of Treatment Discontinuation for Chronic Hepatitis B patients', 2014-2018.
Education and training
University of New South Wales 2000
University of New South Wales 1985
Awards and honors
Frank Fenner Award for Advanced Research in Infectious Diseases, Australian Society of Infectious Disease,
President's Award, American Association for the Study of Liver Disease,
Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians,
Postgraduate Scholarship, NHMRC,
Travelling Scholarship, Royal Australian College of Physicians,
I am currently the Director of the Innate Immunology Laboratory at the University of Melbourne, St. Vincent's Hospital Melbourne. In 2002 I began to supervise PhD candidates and over 10 clinicians have undertaken their doctorate in my laboratory.
The key area of my focus is on infectious diseases and the immunology of the innate immune system. My original research on the innate immunity in viral hepatitis (Hepatology, 2003) opened new ways to understanding the immunology of hepatitis. Specifically my key areas of interest include: hepatitis, cancer, rotavirus, sepsis/infections involving Group A streptococci, mycobacteria and rheumatoid arthritis. In these research areas I am supported by my collaborations with both the infectious disease and gastroenterology consultants throughout Melbourne as well as the Victorian Infectious Disease Research Laboratory, The University of Melbourne and St. Vincent's Hospital Melbourne.
I provide a developmental model of supervision. My goal is to provide mentoring, pedagogy and leadership which I promote to instill in candidates over the course of their academic career. Weekly discussions will involve both individual and group sessions.