Dr Marcel Batten

Lab Head - Immunobiology of Cytokines

Senior Research Officer

Conjoint/Adjunct Role(s)

Conjoint Senior Lecturer, St Vincent's Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Australia

My interest centres around understanding the function of newly discovered cytokines, particularly how they influence the course of autoimmune disease. I studied Advanced Science at UNSW and graduated with first class honours in Molecular Genetics. I completed my PhD with Prof Fabienne Mackay at the Garvan Institute in 2004, uncovering a critical role for a novel cytokine "BAFF" in B cell survival and potentiation of Lupus (J. Exp Med 2000, JI 2004). 

I then went on to do postdoctoral work at Genentech Inc. In the USA, our work there revealed that cytokine Interleukin-27 regulates the immune response in a broad range of settings, and confers a protective effect in a multiple sclerosis model (Nature Immunology, 2006; JI 2008; J. Exp. Med 2011).  

I returned to the Garvan Institute as an independent researcher in 2009 and am currently an NHMRC Career Development Fellow and hold NHMRC project grants to investigate autoimmune diseases and the anti-cancer immune response. Our work continues to study cytokines and T cell activity in autoimmune disease (J.Exp Med 2010) and has also led us to study the effects of cytokines on the immune response to cancer (PlosONE, 2013).

Research Interests

Autoimmune disease (Lupus, Multiple sclerosis, Arthritis)
T helper lymphocytes
Cytokines, particularly Interleukins of the IL-12 family
Tumour immunology (activating the immune system to attack tumour tissue)

Awards and Honours

2012 - Young Garvan Postdoctoral Award
2012-2015 - NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (level 1)
2010 - Best presentation by early career fellow, ASI NSW Branch Meeting
2009-2011 - Cancer Institute NSW, Early Career Development Fellowship
2004 - Awarded a C.J. Martin Fellowship (declined due to accepting a postdoctoral position at Genentech, Inc.)
2004 - Garvan Institute PhD Thesis Prize
2002 - Primary award for excellence in research, St. Vincent’s and Mater Health Research Symposium
2000-2004 - Australian Postgraduate Award


2004 - PhD, University of New South Wales - Australia (Awarded Garvan Institute Thesis Prize 2004)
2000 - BSc (Advanced Science, Molecular Genetics) Honours Class 1, University of New South Wales - Australia

Selected Publications

Lassen, K.G., C.I. McKenzie, M. Mari, T. Murano, J. Begun, L.A. Baxt, G. Goel, E.J. Villablanca, S.Y. Kuo, H. Huang, L. Macia, A.K. Bhan, M. Batten, M.J. Daly, F. Reggiori, C.R. Mackay, and R.J. Xavier. 2016. Genetic Coding Variant in GPR65 Alters Lysosomal pH and Links Lysosomal Dysfunction with Colitis Risk. Immunity 44:1392-1405.

McGuire, H.M., A. Vogelzang, J. Warren, C. Loetsch, K.D. Natividad, T.D. Chan, R. Brink, M. Batten, and C. King. 2015. IL-21 and IL-4 Collaborate To Shape T-Dependent Antibody Responses. J Immunol 195:5123-5135.

Parnell, G. P., P. N. Gatt, M. Krupa, D. Nickles, F. C. McKay, S. D. Schibeci, M. Batten, S. Baranzini, A. Henderson, M. Barnett, M. Slee, S. Vucic, G. J. Stewart, and D. R. Booth. 2014. The autoimmune disease-associated transcription factors EOMES and TBX21 are dysregulated in multiple sclerosis and define a molecular subtype of disease. 2015 Clin Immunol 151: 16-24.

Vogelzang, A., H. M. McGuire, S. M. Liu, B. Gloss, K. Mercado, P. Earls, M. E. Dinger, M. Batten, J. Sprent, and C. King. 2014. IL-21 Contributes to Fatal Inflammatory Disease in the Absence of Foxp3+ T Regulatory Cells. 2015 J Immunol.

Shahijanian, F., G. P. Parnell, F. C. McKay, P. N. Gatt, M. Shojoei, K. S. O'Connor, S. D. Schibeci, F. Brilot, C. Liddle, M. Batten, G. J. Stewart, and D. R. Booth. 2013. The CYP27B1 variant associated with increased risk of autoimmune disease is underexpressed in tolerising dendritic cells. Human Molecular Genetics.

Swarbrick, S., S. R. Junankar, and M. Batten. 2013. Could the properties of IL-27 make it an ideal adjuvant for anticancer immunotherapy? OncoImmunology 2.

Natividad, K. D., S. R. Junankar, N. Mohd Redzwan, R. Nair, R. C. Wirasinha, C. King, R. Brink, A. Swarbrick, and M. Batten. 2013. Interleukin-27 Signaling Promotes Immunity against Endogenously Arising Murine Tumors. PloS one 8: e57469.

Ma, C. S., D. T. Avery, A. Chan, M. Batten, J. Bustamante, S. Boisson-Dupuis, P. D. Arkwright, A. Y. Kreins, D. Averbuch, D. Engelhard, K. Magdorf, S. S. Kilic, Y. Minegishi, S. Nonoyama, M. A. French, S. Choo, J. M. Smart, J. Peake, M. Wong, P. Gray, M. C. Cook, D. A. Fulcher, J. L. Casanova, E. K. Deenick, and S. G. Tangye. 2012. Functional STAT3 deficiency compromises the generation of human T follicular helper cells. Blood 119: 3997-4008.

Ma, C. S., E. K. Deenick, M. Batten, and S. G. Tangye. 2012. The origins, function, and regulation of T follicular helper cells. The Journal of Experimental Medicine 209: 1241-1253.

Batten, M., and N. Ghilardi. 2012. Bystanders not so innocent after all. Immunity 36: 901-903.

Cox, J. H., N. M. Kljavin, N. Ramamoorthi, L. Diehl, M. Batten, and N. Ghilardi. 2011. IL-27 promotes T cell-dependent colitis through multiple mechanisms. The Journal of Experimental Medicine 208: 115-123.

Batten, M., N. Ramamoorthi, N. M. Kljavin, C. S. Ma, J. H. Cox, H. S. Dengler, D. M. Danilenko, P. Caplazi, M. Wong, D. A. Fulcher, M. C. Cook, C. King, S. G. Tangye, F. J. de Sauvage, and N. Ghilardi. 2010. IL-27 supports germinal center function by enhancing IL-21 production and the function of T follicular helper cells. The Journal of Experimental Medicine 207: 2895-2906.

Batten, M., N. M. Kljavin, J. Li, M. J. Walter, F. J. de Sauvage, and N. Ghilardi. 2008. Cutting edge: IL-27 is a potent inducer of IL-10 but not FoxP3 in murine T cells. J Immunol 180: 2752-2756.

Sierro, F., C. Biben, L. Martinez-Munoz, M. Mellado, R. M. Ransohoff, M. Li, B. Woehl, H. Leung, J. Groom, M. Batten, R. P. Harvey, A. C. Martinez, C. R. Mackay, and F. Mackay. 2007. Disrupted cardiac development but normal hematopoiesis in mice deficient in the second CXCL12/SDF-1 receptor, CXCR7. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104: 14759-14764.

Batten, M., J. Li, S. Yi, N. M. Kljavin, D. M. Danilenko, S. Lucas, J. Lee, F. J. de Sauvage, and N. Ghilardi. 2006. Interleukin 27 limits autoimmune encephalomyelitis by suppressing the development of interleukin 17-producing T cells. Nat Immunol 7: 929-936.

Batten, M., C. Fletcher, L. G. Ng, J. Groom, J. Wheway, Y. Laabi, X. Xin, P. Schneider, J. Tschopp, C. R. Mackay, and F. Mackay. 2004. TNF deficiency fails to protect BAFF transgenic mice against autoimmunity and reveals a predisposition to B cell lymphoma. J Immunol 172: 812-822.

Groom, J., S. L. Kalled, A. H. Cutler, C. Olson, S. A. Woodcock, P. Schneider, J. Tschopp, T. G. Cachero, M. Batten, J. Wheway, D. Mauri, D. Cavill, T. P. Gordon, C. R. Mackay, and F. Mackay. 2002. Association of BAFF/BLyS overexpression and altered B cell differentiation with Sjogren's syndrome. J Clin Invest 109: 59-68.

Thompson, J. S., P. Schneider, S. L. Kalled, L. Wang, E. A. Lefevre, T. G. Cachero, F. MacKay, S. A. Bixler, M. Zafari, Z. Y. Liu, S. A. Woodcock, F. Qian, M. Batten, C. Madry, Y. Richard, C. D. Benjamin, J. L. Browning, A. Tsapis, J. Tschopp, and C. Ambrose. 2000. BAFF binds to the tumor necrosis factor receptor-like molecule B cell maturation antigen and is important for maintaining the peripheral B cell population. The Journal of experimental medicine 192: 129-135.

Batten, M., J. Groom, T. G. Cachero, F. Qian, P. Schneider, J. Tschopp, J. L. Browning, and F. Mackay. 2000. BAFF mediates survival of peripheral immature B lymphocytes. The Journal of Experimental Medicine 192: 1453-1466.

Dr Marcel Batten