Associate Professor Andrew Collins

Position: 
Associate Professor
Room: 
L1, Samuels Building (Room number TBC)
Telephone: 
(+612) 9385 2101 (School Office)
Fax: 
(+612) 9385 1483


Professional Experience

  • 2002-present: Associate Professor, School of BABS
  • 2008-2010: Deputy Head of School, School of BABS
  • 2000-2002: Head of School, UNSW School of Microbiology & Immunology
  • 1991-2002: Lecturer; Senior Lecturer, UNSW School of Microbiology & Immunology
  • 1990: Research Scientist, Division of Pathology, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
  • 1985-1986: Research Assistant, WHO Collaborating Centre for the Epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus, Southern Memorial Hospital, Melbourne
  • 1981-1984: Assistant to Director, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Goroka

Research Contribution

My research focuses on antibody repertoire development, and antibody function. 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 was formed in December 2017, and it 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. It is hoped that in the near future, listings of such inferred alleles will be accessible through the IMGT system.

The evaluation of the reported germline gene repertoire has been an interest of mine for over a decade. My group and I have documented possible errors in the reported germline repertoire (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.icb.7100144). Working with Dr Bruno Gaeta of UNSW, I have also developed a database of over 175 inferred putative human antibody gene polymorphisms. These sequences can be found in the Immunoglobulin Polymorphisms database (IgPdb) at http://cgi.cse.unsw.edu.au/~ihmmune/.

In 2015, my collaborators and I analysed VDJ rearrangements from BALB/c mice and found dramatic differences between this strain and the B6-derived mouse genome reference sequence. These investigations are now being extended to other mouse laboratory strains, including wild-derived strains. This is being done in collaboration with Dr Corey Watson of the University of Louisville and Dr Katherine Jackson of the Garvan Institute, Sydney.

My colleagues and I continue to study the processes that give rise to the diversity of the immunoglobulin gene repertoire, and to biases and constraints that shape the immunoglobulin gene repertoire. In collaboration with Dr. Katherine Jackson, I have 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 (“On being the right size: antibody repertoire formation in the mouse and human.” doi10.1007/s00251-017-1049-8 IMMU-D-17-00171.1.)

My work also focuses on ways in which antibody function may vary between species. My collaborators and I have proposed contrasting models of antibody function in the human and mouse: the Temporal Model of human IgG antibody function (http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2013.00235), and the Quartet Model of mouse IgG function (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27502143). These models were developed as a result of analyses of somatic point mutations of IgG-associated VDJ gene sequences. These analyses revealed features of IgG-associated sequences that cannot be explained by existing models of B cell regulation. Both models address the mystery of how antibodies of diverse and even opposing isotype-mediated function can work together to deliver protective immunity.

Honours & Awards

  • Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence 1999
  • UNSW Nominee, Australian University Teaching Award 1999
  • Grant Reviewer (NHMRC, ARC, NZ Health Research Council)
  • Reviewer for journals including: Journal of Immunology, Immunology, Int. Archives of Allergy & Immunology, BMC Immunology, BMC Bioinformatics etc

Publications

Click here for A/Professor Collins's publications list