Our people

Dr Kara Filbey

Dr Kara Filbey is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Malaghan Institute’s Allergic and Parasitic Diseases Programme, led by Professor Graham Le Gros.

Dr Filbey has spent a decade researching immune responses to parasitic worm (helminth) infections. Before joining the Institute 3 years ago, she worked as a research assistant and completed her PhD at Edinburgh University in Scotland.


Research interests

I am interested in how our immune system responds to helminth infections - there is still a lot to learn about how the immune system fights them. Understanding this will help us design vaccines and treatments in the future.

Helminths can often manipulate their hosts’ immune responses in order to survive for a longer time. We can harness this ability to treat inflammatory diseases like asthma and dermatitis in humans. I am interested in finding out the specific processes involved.

Research projects

I’ve been working at the Malaghan Institute for over three years, mainly conducting research on my coinfection project. This involves using mouse models to study how their immune system responds to having two different parasitic worm infections at the same time. In real life, an animal or human will be host to several different microbes or parasites at any given time. Therefore, it is important to know how one infection may affect immunity to another. It is especially important to find out whether this effect is beneficial or detrimental to the health of the host.

I am also investigating whether infection with a worm can prevent dermatitis-like skin inflammation and the mechanisms involved in the immunity against hookworms that are provided by vaccines.

Publications

2017

Filbey K, Bouchery T, Le Gros G. (2017) The role of ILC2 in hookworm infection. Parasite Immunol. 

2016

Smith KA, Filbey KJ, Reynolds LA, Hewitson JP, Harcus Y, Boon L, Sparwasser T, Hämmerling G, Maizels RM. (2016) Low-level regulatory T-cell activity is essential for functional type-2 effector immunity to expel gastrointestinal helminths. Mucosal Immunol. 

Weinkove R, Filbey K, Le Gros G. (2016) Immunity without innate lymphoid cells. News and Views article.  Nat Immunol. 

2015

Mackley EC, Houston S, Marriott CL, Halford EE, Lucas B, Cerovic V, Filbey KJ, Maizels RM, Hepworth MR, Sonnenberg GF, Milling S, Withers DR. (2015) CCR7-dependent trafficking of RORγ⁺ ILCs creates a unique microenvironment within mucosal draining lymph nodes. Nat Commun. 

Hewitson JP, Filbey KJ, Esser-von Bieren J, Camberis M, Schwartz C, Murray J, Reynolds LA, Blair N, Robertson E, Harcus Y, Boon L, Huang SC, Yang L, Tu Y, Miller MJ, Voehringer D, Le Gros G, Harris N, Maizels RM. (2015) Concerted Activity of IgG1 Antibodies and IL-4/IL-25-Dependent Effector Cells Trap Helminth Larvae in the Tissues following Vaccination with Defined Secreted Antigens, Providing Sterile Immunity to Challenge Infection. PLoS Pathog. 

Bouchery T, Kyle R, Camberis M, Shepherd A, Filbey K, Smith A, Harvie M, Painter G, Johnston K, Ferguson P, Jain R, Roediger B, Delahunt B, Weninger W, Forbes-Blom E, Le Gros G. (2015) ILC2s and T cells cooperate to ensure maintenance of M2 macrophages for lung immunity against hookworms. Nat Commun.

2014

Filbey KJ, Grainger JR, Smith KA, Boon L, van Rooijen N, Harcus Y, Jenkins S, Hewitson JP, Maizels RM. (2014) Innate and adaptive type 2 immune cell responses in genetically controlled resistance to intestinal helminth infection. Immunol Cell Biol. 

Reynolds LA, Smith KA, Filbey KJ, Harcus Y, Hewitson JP, Redpath SA, Valdez Y, Yebra MJ, Finlay BB, Maizels RM. (2014) Commensal-pathogen interactions in the intestinal tract: lactobacilli promote infection with, and are promoted by, helminth parasites. Gut Microbes. 

2013

Hewitson JP, Ivens AC, Harcus Y, Filbey KJ, McSorley HJ, Murray J, Bridgett S, Ashford D, Dowle AA, Maizels RM. (2013) Secretion of protective antigens by tissue-stage nematode larvae revealed by proteomic analysis and vaccination-induced sterile immunity. PLoS Pathog. 

2012

Maizels RM, Hewitson JP, Murray J, Harcus YM, Dayer B, Filbey KJ, Grainger JR, McSorley HJ, Reynolds LA, Smith KA. (2012) Immune modulation and modulators in Heligmosomoides polygyrus infection. Exp Parasitol. 

McSorley HJ, O'Gorman MT, Blair N, Sutherland TE, Filbey KJ, Maizels RM. (2012) Suppression of type 2 immunity and allergic airway inflammation by secreted products of the helminth Heligmosomoides polygyrus. Eur J Immunol.

Reynolds LA, Filbey KJ, Maizels RM. (2012) Immunity to the model intestinal helminth parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus. Semin Immunopathol. 

2011

Hewitson JP, Filbey KJ, Grainger JR, Dowle AA, Pearson M, Murray J, Harcus Y, Maizels RM. (2011) Heligmosomoides polygyrus elicits a dominant nonprotective antibody response directed against restricted glycan and peptide epitopes.  J Immunol. 

Hewitson JP, Harcus Y, Murray J, van Agtmaal M, Filbey KJ Grainger JR, Bridgett S, Blaxter ML, Ashton PD, Ashford DA, Curwen RS, Wilson RA, Dowle AA, Maizels RM. (2011)  Proteomic analysis of secretory products from the model gastrointestinal nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus reveals dominance of venom allergen-like (VAL) proteins.  J Proteomics. 

2010

Grainger JR, Smith KA, Hewitson JP, McSorley HJ, Harcus Y, Filbey KJ, Finney CA, Greenwood EJ, Knox DP, Wilson MS, Belkaid Y, Rudensky AY, Maizels RM. (2010) Helminth secretions induce de novo T cell Foxp3 expression and regulatory function through the TGF-β pathway.  J Exp Med.

Wilson MS, Taylor MD, O'Gorman MT, Balic A, Barr TA, Filbey K, Anderton SM, Maizels RM. (2010) Helminth-induced CD19+CD23hi B cells modulate experimental allergic and autoimmune inflammation.Eur J Immunol.

2009

Harcus Y, Nicoll G, Murray J, Filbey K, Gomez-Escobar N, Maizels RM. (2009) C-type lectins from the nematode parasites Heligmosomoides polygyrus and Nippostrongylus brasiliensis.  Parasitol Int.