Dr Olivier Gasser, Team Leader Translational Immunology Research Group

Gut Health research programme will now be led by Dr Olivier Gasser - Dr Elizabeth Forbes-Blom joins prestigious nutritional research group in Europe

01 March 2017, Dr Olivier Gasser, Gut Health, Translational Immunology

With a mixture of sadness and pride, we announce that Dr Elizabeth Forbes-Blom has been recruited to join the elite Nestle Research Centre based in Switzerland.

Dr Forbes-Blom started her career at the Malaghan Institute with postdoctoral fellowship positions with Ass Prof Thomas Backstrom’s Multiple Sclerosis research group then transitioning to Prof Graham Le Gros’ allergy research group, specialising in the development of novel experimental models for studying food allergy. Since then, she has undertaken ground-breaking research and has enjoyed tremendous success in building up the gut health research programme.

Professor Graham Le Gros says:” We are extremely proud of all Liz’s achievements with the Institute; that she is now being offered this exciting new role in Europe clearly illustrates the international recognition she has achieved and her level of contribution to this increasingly important field.” He also adds: “We would like to see Liz return to New Zealand in the medium term and make even bigger contributions to NZ’s health and economy through her international experience.”

The Malaghan Institute’s gut health research will continue under the stewardship of Dr Olivier Gasser, newly appointed leader of the Translational Immunology team. Olivier joined the Malaghan Institute from Basel, Switzerland in 2011 to become a Senior Research Fellow in our Vaccine Immunotherapy programme. Olivier’s research interests lie in the bidirectional communication between the immune system and host metabolism, with a strong emphasis on the gut and its resident microbes. Olivier’s position and research area will ensure the Malaghan Institutes research efforts will be a key pillar of the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge. In particular, his research will focus on novel mechanistic aspects of the human immune system that could provide immediate impact to the fields of immune health as it relates to cancer, inflammatory and infectious diseases.

In essence, the new Translational Immunology team will aim at revealing the immune system’s evolutionary role as an environmental sensor, not purely restricted to pathogens but incorporating signals and stressors of metabolic origin, providing a distinct and holistic approach to disease prevention and cure.