Andrew Collins

Associate Professor

Research Contribution

My research focuses on antibody repertoire development, and antibody function. In 2015, my collaborators and I found dramatic differences in the germline immunoglobulin genes between BALB/c and B6 mouse. These investigations have now been extended to other laboratory mouse strains, including wild-derived strains, leading to the identification of over 250 new germline immunoglobulin gene sequences. We suggest that common strains of laboratory mice may carry immunoglobulin gene loci that are a mosaic of fragments from different subspecies of the house mouse, as a result of the unusual breeding histories of these mice. The resulting ‘mispairing’ of heavy and light chain genes could explain some mouse models of autoimmune disease (doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.02249).

We recently considered how the mouse and the human antibody repertoires differ, and how the repertoires of the two species meet the differing biological needs of the two species (doi: 10.1007/s00251-017-1049-8 IMMU-D-17-00171.1.). We have highlighted ways in which antibody function may vary between the human and mouse (doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2013.00235 and 10.1038/icb.2016.65), and the proposed models of human and mouse antibody function also address the mystery of how antibodies of diverse and even opposing isotype-mediated function can work together to deliver protective immunity.

I am the Co-Chair of the Germline Gene Database (GLDB) Working Group of the Adaptive Immune Receptor Repertoire community (AIRR-C) (airr-community.org), and Chair of the Inferred Allele Review Committee (iARC). The IARC is a committee that is responsible for the evaluation of putative IG and TCR gene polymorphisms, inferred from RepSeq data. Its role is to advise relevant committees of the International Union of Immunology Societies (IUIS) and the ImMunoGeneTics Group (IMGT) of sequences that should be included in listings of IG and TCR alleles.

Professional Experience

  • 1981-1984 Assistant to the Director, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Goroka, Papua New Guinea
  • 1985-1986 Research Assistant, WHO Collaborating Centre for the Epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus, Southern Memorial Hospital, Melbourne
  • 1990 Research Scientist, Division of Pathology, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
  • 1991-2002 Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, UNSW
  • 2002-present Associate Professor, UNSW

Honours & Awards

  • Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence 1999
  • UNSW Nominee, Australian University Teaching Award 1999
  • Grant Reviewer (NHMRC, ARC, NZ Health Reseach Council)
  • Reviewer for journals including: PNAS, Nature Genetics, Nucleic Acids Research, Journal of Immunology, Immunology, Immunology and Cell Biology, BMC Immunology, BMC Bioinformatics and others.