Villadangos Group

“Our research has contributed to elucidating the complexity of the dendritic cell network in vivo and the mechanisms by which immune cells capture, process and present antigens.” – Professor Jose Villadangos


Jose Villadangos is a Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Microbiology and Immunology. His work straddles biochemistry, cell biology and immunology. He has contributed to elucidating the complexity of the dendritic cell network in vivo and the mechanisms by which immune cells capture, process and present antigens. His current research interests include:

  • The mechanisms of antigen presentation in dendritic cells
  • The regulation of proteostasis by membrane ubiquitin ligases
  • The mechanisms controlling the dimerisation of the amyloidogenic protease inhibitor Cystatin C
  • Autophagy
  • The development of adoptive cell therapy for the treatment of cancer

Research Projects:

  • Characterisation of antigen presentation pathways in dendritic cells
  1. Receptor mediated antigen trafficking in DCs
  2. Mechanism of impaired DC function caused by systemic inflammation or infection
  3. Autophagy: a novel pathway of protein degradation, antigen presentation and T cell immunity
  4. Characterization of OGlcNAc glycosylation in DCs
  5. Understanding the mechanisms that impair anti-tumour adoptive cell therapy
  6. Memory T cell responses in viral infections
  7. Expression and substrate recognition by MARCH ubiquitin ligases
  8. The amyloidogenic protease inhibitor Cystatin C in health and disease


Immunology, cell biology, and biochemistry techniques including: animal models of viral, bacterial and malaria infection, cancer and autoimmunity,  purification and characterisation of immune cells, microscopy, analysis of protein trafficking, subcellular fractionation, protein biochemistry,  and proteomics.


Group Leaders

Professor Jose Villadangos

Dr Justine Mintern

Research Assistant

Geraldine Healey

Postdoctoral Scientist

Dr Nishma Gupta

PhD Student

Alan (Li Hao) Ching

Haiyin Liu

Patrick Shriek

Ilknur Spring

Annabelle Blum

Kayla Wilson

Honours Students

Hayley Cron

Fadzai (Victor) Makota

Undergraduate Students

Jade Taylor

William Chiang

Laura Colin


Jose obtained his PhD from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in 1994 under the supervision of Prof Jose A Lopez de Castro, studying the role of MHC polymorphism in peptide selection and T cell recognition. In 1994 he joined the laboratory of Prof Hidde Ploegh in the USA, first at MIT and later at Harvard Medical School, where he contributed to the identification of proteases involved in MHC class II antigen presentation. He moved to Melbourne, Australia in 1998, where he joined the laboratory of Prof Ken Shortman at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) to apply his expertise in antigen presentation to the study of dendritic cells. He started his own laboratory at WEHI in 2001 and moved to The University of Melbourne in 2011.

As a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Jose applies his expertise in biochemistry, cell biology, proteomics, microscopy and immunology to his own research and to collaborations between the two departments.