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Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos

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

Vice-President Research (acting)

Professor 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.

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 250 oral presentations, has 340 publications and is a co-inventor on 17 patents. She has an excellent grant funding track record, receiving over $41M 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.

Throughout her career Vasso has 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 College of Health and Biomedicine at Victoria University in 2014 as a lecturer for a number of first, second and third year courses (Biomedical Science, Nursing, Paramedics). She joined the Centre for Chronic Disease (CCD) in August 2015 where she led the Immunology in Chronic Diseases Program and in 2018 became the program leader for the Mechanism and Interventions in Health and Disease Program within the Institute for Health and Sport.

During her time at Victoria University Vasso has attracted over $1.9M in research funding. Her current research projects are on cancer, autoimmunity, diabetes and mental health with an immunology focus. Currently, Vasso is the interim Vice President (Research) at Victoria University.

Recent awards

  • 2018 Chancellor’s Medal, Presented by Mr George Pappas, Chancellor, Victoria University
  • 2018 Scientific Achievement Award, The Double Helix (Dolphins), Medicinal Chemistry: Drug Design and Development Conference (20 years anniversary), University of Patras, Greece
  • 2018 Presidents Medal (Greece), Bestowed by the President of Greece, Mr Prokopios Pavlopoulos
  • 2017 BHERT Award Finalist - Outstanding Collaboration in Research and Development
  • 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence in Research and Research Training, Victoria University

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

Katsara, M., Ramsland, PR., Tselios, T., Matsoukas, J. and Apostolopoulos, V. A structural perspective of peptides from MBP. In: Myelin basic proteins. Ed: J.M Boggs, Nova Science Publishers Inc, Ch5:87-103, 2008.
 
Lazoura, E., Day, S.L. and Apostolopoulos, V. Applications for peptide-based cancer vaccine design. Frontiers in Medicinal Chemistry, 4(1):541-561, 2009.
 
Pietersz, G.A., Pouniotis, D.S. and Apostolopoulos, V. Design of peptide-based vaccines for cancer. Frontiers in Medicinal Chemistry, 5:127-166, 2010
 
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. Ch:16:285-308, 2016.

Teaching responsibilities

Postgraduate research students

Completions

17 PhD students,1 MD student, 11 MSc students, 6 Honours students.

Current supervision

13 PhD students, 3 MSc students, 4 Honours students.

Research grants

  • The Product Makers (TPM) Pty Ltd
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Australia
  • Institute Breathing and Sleep
  • AusIndustry Project Grant
  • Innovations Connections Grant, Department of Industry Innovation and Science
  • The Myositosis Association
  • Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation
  • Trusts and Foundations: State Trustees Australia, Equity Trustees, Janina and Bill Amiet Foundation, Scobe and Claire McKinnon Trust, BHP Billiton Corporate Community Program, The Trust Company, RE Ross Trust, Eirene Lucas Foundation, The Mazda Foundation, Margaret Wolkham Foundation, The Harold and Cora Brennen Trust, The Cecilia Kilkenny Foundation
  • 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
  • Section Editor, Medicinal Chemistry
  • Review Editor, Frontiers in immunotherpies and Vaccines
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Updates in gynaecology and obstetrics
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Cancers
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Maturitas
  • 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
  • Guest Editor, Expert Review of Vaccines
  • Guest Editor, Medicinal Chemistry
  • Guest Editor, Current Pharmaceutical Design
  • Guest Editor, Journal of Drug Delivery
  • Guest Editor, Vaccines
  • Grant Review Panel, Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation
  • Grant Review Panel, VU Research Fellowships
  • 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, TPM (Australia) Pty Ltd.

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

  vasso.apostolopoulos@vu.edu.au

Office of the Vice President Research

  vp.research@vu.edu.au

Executive Officer
Teyah Marney

  +61 3 9919 4001
  teyah.marney@vu.edu.au