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Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos

BSc (Hons; UniMelb), PhD (UniMelb; Austin Research Institute), Adv Cert Protein Crystallography (University of London)

Professorial Research Fellow, College of Health and Biomedicine

Prof Vasso Apostolopoulos has over 20 years’ experience in cancer, vaccine development and immunology research. She has developed the world’s first breast and ovarian cancer vaccine, which is in commercialisation stage. She has also been instrumental in the development of a vaccine against MS, to begin trials in 2017.

Vasso has extensive clinical research expertise. She has extensively assessed the immunological status of human cells and serum and her work has been translated to over 25 human clinical trials (phases I, II, III) of new immunotherapeutics for cancer. Her research expertise is multidisciplinary, having conducted research in various world-renowned Universities and Institutes such as:

  • Austin Research institute, Melbourne
  • Burnet Research Institutes, Melbourne
  • John Curtin School of Medical Research, Canberra
  • Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, Oxford University, UK
  • Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, USA
  • Mater Medical Research Institute, Queensland

Vasso has given over 185 oral presentations, has 280 publications and is a co-inventor on 15 patents. She has an excellent grant funding track record, receiving over $22.0M in the last 20 years. She was a recipient of the NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship, NHMRC RD Wright Fellowship and the innaugural Sir Zelman Cowen Cancer Research Fellowship.

Vasso has also received more than 100 awards/honours, most notable are:

  • The Premiers Award for Medical Research
  • Young Australian of the Year (Vic)
  • Channel 10/Herald Sun Young Achiever of the Year
  • Victorian Tall Poppy Award
  • Inductee into the Victorian Honour roll of Women
  • Torchbearer in the International Athens 2004 Olympic Torch Relay
  • Woman of the Year
  • Greek Australian of the Year
  • Australia Day Ambassador

Vasso joined the Centre for Chronic Disease (CCD) in August 2015. She brings extensive cancer, autoimmunity and immunology expertise to CCD and her current research projects on cancer, autoimmunity, diabetes and mental health has an immunology focus. Recently, Vasso received $1.63M funding from Vianex SA, a Greek company to undertake a human clinical trial in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients based on her MS immunotherapeutic development work.

Journal articles

Apostolopoulos, V., Lofthouse, S.A., Popovski, V., Chelvanayagam, G., Sandrin, M.S. and McKenzie I.F.C. Peptide mimics of a tumour antigen induce functional cytotoxic T cells. Nature Biotechnology, 16:276-280, 1998.

Apostolopoulos, V., Osinski, C. and McKenzie I.F.C. MUC1 cross-reactive Gala(1,3)Gal antibodies in humans switch immune responses from cellular to humoral. Nature Medicine, 4:315-320, 1998.

Degano, M., Garcia, K.C., Apostolopoulos, V., Rudolph, M., Teyton, L. and Wilson, I.A. A functional hot spot for antigen recognition in a superagonist TCR/MHC complex. Immunity, 12:251-261, 2000.

Corper, A.L., Stratmann, T., Apostolopoulos, V.,Scott, C.A., Garcia, K.C., Kang, A., Wilson, I.A. and Teyton, L. A structural framework for deciphering the link between I-Ag7 and autoimmune diabetes. Science, 288:505-511, 2000.

Apostolopoulos, V., Yuriev, E., Ramsland, P.A., Halton, J., Osinski, C., Li, W., Plebanski, M., Paulsen, H. and McKenzie, I.F.C. A glycopeptide in complex with MHC class I uses the GalNAc residue as an anchor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 100:15029-15034, 2003.

View more journal articles by Prof Vasso Apostolopoulos.

Book chapters

Stojanovska, L.,Ayyash, M. and Apostolopoulos, V. Calcium fortified soymilk: function and health benefits. In: Calcium: Chemistry, analysis, function and effects. Ed: Preedy, V.R, Humana Press. Ch19:310-328, 2015.

Prakash, M.D., Stojanovska, L., Nurgali, K. and Apostolopoulos, V. Exercise in menopausal women. In: Sex hormones, exercise and women. Ed: Hackney, A, Springer Publishing. Ch9, 2016.

Teaching responsibilities

Postgraduate research students

Completions

11 PhD students,1 MD student, 7 MSc students, 3 Honours students  

Current supervision

Supervisor of 5 PhD students, 2 MSc students, 2 Honours students
Co-supervisor of 4 PhD students, 1 MSc student, 1 Honours student

Research grants

  • Vianex S.A., Greece
  • NHMRC, Australia
  • ARC, Australia
  • Cancer Council Victoria, Australia
  • National Breast Cancer Foundation, Australia
  • Kathleen Cunningham Breast Cancer Foundation, Australia
  • US Army Breast Cancer Foundation, USA
  • Susan Komen for the cure, USA

Professional memberships and activities

  • Membership, Australian Society of Immunology
  • Fellow, Institute Breathing Sleep, Austin Health, Australia
  • Patron, Women’s Wellness West, Australia
  • Scientific Advisory Committee, RL Cooper Medical Research Foundation
  • International Advisory Board, Genexine South Korea
  • Associate Editor, Immunotherapy
  • Regional Editor, Recent Patents anti-cancer drug discovery
  • Section Editor, (Immunology) Current Medicinal Chemistry
  • Review Editor, Frontiers in immunotherpies and Vaccines
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Expert Review of Vaccines
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Medicinal Chemistry
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Acta Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Frontiers in Immunology
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Frontiers in Microbial Immunology
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Biomed research international
  • Member, Victorian Infection and immunity network, Australia
  • Member, The Science Advisory Board USA
  • Member, NHMRC Research Translation Faculty, Australia

Industry experience

  • Chief Scientific Officer, 4G Vaccines Pty Ltd Australia
  • Consultant, Prima Biomed Australia/USA
  • Consultant, ELDrug Greece
  • International Advisory Board, Genexine South Korea
  • Director, VAConsulting Services, Australia
  • Research funding received from, Prima Biomed Ltd Australia/USA, Vianex SA Greece, 4G Vaccines Australia 

Areas of expertise

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell biology
  • Chemistry
  • Clinical research
  • Drug commercialization
  • Drug development
  • Exercise immunology
  • GLP/GMP manufacturing of products
  • Human clinical trials
  • Immunology
  • Nutritional immunology
  • Protein crystallography
  • Translational research

Contact details

+61 3 9919 2025