Dr Marcel Batten

Lab Head - Immunobiology of Cytokines

Senior Research Officer

Conjoint/Adjunct Role(s)

Network Co-ordinator for the Clinical Immunogenomics Research Consortium Australia (CIRCA)
Conjoint Senior Lecturer, St Vincent's Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney

Throughout my career, I have investigated how the immune system functions in health and how it goes “wrong” in immunological disease. I am energised to make new discoveries as to how genes, and the proteins they encode, control immune responses.

I am currently the Network Co-ordinator for the Clinical Immunogenomics Research Consortium Australia (CIRCA). The CIRCA team of clinical immunologists, geneticists, genetic counsellors, and research scientists are using whole genome sequencing and bespoke experimental work to determine the genetic causes of rare, severe immune dysfunction. This will allow for improved treatment of both the rare diseases, as well as common immunological diseases in which the same pathways may be active. In this role I also oversee functional experimentation to determine the impact of the genetic variants on protein function.

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, J. Immunol 2004). 

I was a postdoctoral fellow at Genentech Inc. in the USA 2005-2008, 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; J. Immunol 2008; J. Exp. Med 2011).  

I returned to the Garvan Institute as an independent researcher in 2009, where my laboratory made further discoveries of the effects of IL-27 in antibody generation (Blood 2012; J. Immunol, 2016) and protection against spontaneously arising tumours (PLos one; 2013).

  • Current member of the Garvan Institute Higher Degrees Committee
  • NSW Councillor for the Australasian Society for Immunology 2012-2014

Research Interests

Primary Immunodeficiency
Autoimmune disease (Lupus, Multiple sclerosis, Arthritis)
T helper lymphocytes
Cytokines, particularly Interleukins of the IL-12 family

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

Vijayan, D., N. Mohd Redzwan, D. T. Avery, R. C. Wirasinha, R. Brink, G. Walters, S. Adelstein, M. Kobayashi, P. Gray, M. Elliott, M. Wong, C. King, C. G. Vinuesa, N. Ghilardi, C. S. Ma, S. G. Tangye, and M. Batten. 2016. IL-27 Directly Enhances Germinal Center B Cell Activity and Potentiates Lupus in Sanroque Mice. J Immunol 197: 3008-3017.

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.

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.

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.

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. Nature Immunology 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.

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