Professor Stephen Nutt

Professor Stephen Nutt



Professor Stephen Nutt in the lab



BSc(Hons) Sydney PhD Vienna

Laboratory Head


My laboratory studies how the development of immune cells is controlled. This process is critical to protect us against the many potentially harmful micro-organisms in the environment. Developing immune cells have many decisions to make, from deciphering the early signals that initiate their formation from rare blood stem cells, through to strategic responses in the body about whether to ignore or attack foreign organisms. These decisions are important as errors in the immune system result in diseases such as autoimmunity and leukaemia. 

My research aims to decipher how these cellular decisions are made and the consequences for our protective immunity.

Research interest

A functional immune system requires the coordinated activity of thousands of individual genes. My laboratory studies transcription factors, regulatory proteins that act in the cell’s nucleus to control gene expression.

Our research aims to investigate how these transcription factors function on a cellular and molecular level to program the immune system. To address these questions, we use:

  • Genetics
  • High-throughput genomic technologies
  • Infectious disease models
  • Cell culture

These approaches help us to better understand the normal functioning of the immune system as well as to highlight new targets for therapies that selectively promote or dampen immune responses.

Specific research interests include:

  • Understanding how progenitors make the decision to become a particular cell type
  • Deciphering how the tissue environment influences immune cell identity and function
  • Developing new approaches to treat blood cell diseases

Harnessing the immune system to fight common cancers such as those of the liver and breast

Three researchers standing outside a building

Researchers have found a potential new treatment for asthma that works by targeting the cause of the disease, rather than just masking its symptoms.

Eureka prize winning researchers, standing

Meet our Eureka Prize winning B cell researchers

Microscopy image of dendritic cells in the skin

Our research has revealed an unanticipated secret about the cells that form the first line of defence in the body’s fight against infection