Dr Helen Parrington

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Overview

Currently Helen works as a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology under Dr. Keith Chappell on a Rapid-Response Vaccine Pipeline to pressure-test the development of effective vaccines for priority human pathogens.

Helen received her Ph.D. in virology and immunology from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN, USA) in 2023 under the advisement of Dr. James E. Crowe Jr. During her PhD, Helen discovered the first human monoclonal antibodies to Sosuga virus--a zoonotic paramyxovirus that caused near-fatal disease in an infected wildlife researcher. While there is still much unknown about Sosuga virus, the antibodies Helen discovered can be used as potential therapeutics or for further study of this novel virus.

Prior to her PhD, Helen did a post-baccalaureate (postbac) at the National Institutes of Health in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, MD, USA where she worked under Dr. Mark Connors in the HIV-Specific Immunity Section of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. During her postbac, Helen helped develop recombinant adenoviruses for an HIV vaccine vector by discovering the deletion of key sequences from the adenovirus backbone vector, redesigning the backbone vector, and cloning in various HIV-1 Env (e.g. with or without SOSIP modifications) genes to assess the conformational stability of Env expressed on the surfaces of infected cells using flow cytometry.

For her undergraduate degree, Helen studied at the University of Massachusetts Boston (Boston, MA, USA) where she graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Biology with honours and in the Biotechnology subtrack. For her undergraduate honours thesis, Helen worked with Dr. Brian White where she did a bioinformatics project on the impact of the polar requirement of genetic codes on model proteins.

Research Interests

  • Virology
    Discovery and study of animal viruses, particularly those that cause disease in humans, have pandemic potential, or are able to infect multiple species.
  • Zoonosis
    Understanding mechanisms of zoonotic viruses to jump species with particular interest in bat-borne viruses.
  • Bat-borne viruses and bat immunity
    Studying the immune system of various bat species to better understand their immune response against viruses and predict possible zoonotic or spillover events.
  • Vaccinology
    Development of vaccine candidates for human or veterinary diseases.
  • Immunology
    Development of human monoclonal antibody therapeutics against viral agents.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy of Virology, Vanderbilt University

Publications

  • Parrington, Helen M., Kose, Nurgun, Armstrong, Erica, Handal, Laura, Diaz, Summer, Reidy, Joseph, Dong, Jinhui, Stewart-Jones, Guillaume B.E., Shrivastava-Ranjan, Punya, Jain, Shilpi, Albariño, César G., Carnahan, Robert H. and Crowe, James E. (2023). Potently neutralizing human mAbs against the zoonotic pararubulavirus Sosuga virus. JCI Insight, 8 (8) e166811, 1-17. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.166811

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Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Publications

Journal Article

  • Parrington, Helen M., Kose, Nurgun, Armstrong, Erica, Handal, Laura, Diaz, Summer, Reidy, Joseph, Dong, Jinhui, Stewart-Jones, Guillaume B.E., Shrivastava-Ranjan, Punya, Jain, Shilpi, Albariño, César G., Carnahan, Robert H. and Crowe, James E. (2023). Potently neutralizing human mAbs against the zoonotic pararubulavirus Sosuga virus. JCI Insight, 8 (8) e166811, 1-17. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.166811

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors: