Dr Chris Cowled: investigating the immune system of bats
Dr Chris Cowled is a Postdoctoral Fellow with CSIRO Livestock Industries, investigating the innate immune system of bats and how they develop persistent viral infections.
13 July 2009 | Updated 14 October 2011
Dr Chris Cowled is currently a member of the newly created bat immunology group, led by CSIRO scientist Dr Michelle Baker. The group is part of a larger group of scientists researching bats and viruses under the leadership of Senior Principal Research Scientist Dr Linfa Wang.
Dr Cowled is investigating the innate immune system of bats, particularly the Toll-like receptors and RNA-sensing molecules RIGI and MDA5 in the Australian black flying fox, Pteropus alecto. The group's work aims to discover how bats develop persistent viral infections and why they rarely show symptoms of disease when infected with deadly viruses such as SARS, Ebola, Hendra and Rabies.
Dr Cowled hopes the research will lead to the discovery of novel immune mechanisms and breakthroughs in understanding the pathogenesis of these diseases, as well as revealing potential new avenues for the development of antiviral drugs and therapies.
Dr Chris Cowled joined CSIRO in 2005, when he began a PhD at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong, Victoria.
Under the supervision of Senior Principal Research Scientist Dr David Boyle, his topic was the identification and characterisation of novel viruses of the genus Orbivirus isolated from sentinel cattle and insects in northern Australia.
In 2008 Dr Cowled was awarded the Smart Geelong Network Researcher of the Year Award (early career researcher).
During this time he was also extensively involved with the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease (AB-CRC).
In 2003-04, Dr Cowled was employed as a Research Assistant at Kings College London (KCL) in the United Kingdom, on a project to develop a novel subunit vaccine to treat allergic asthma.
From 2001-03 he was employed as a Research Assistant at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, on a project to characterise genes involved in brain development.
Dr Cowled has completed a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science from Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in 2001.
He majored in immunology, physiology and literature and obtained First Class Honours in his final year for a research project entitled Human CD4+CD25+ lymphocytes and the allergen-specific T cell response.
In 2008, Dr Cowled completed a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Queensland, Australia.
In 2008 Dr Cowled was awarded the:
Smart Geelong Network Researcher of the Year Award (early career researcher)
AB-CRC Knowledge Broker Award
Runner-up student presentation award at the Arbovirus Research in Australia Symposium.
More recently, he was one of only four researchers chosen from around Australia to attend the CRC Association Annual Conference to deliver a 10-minute presentation in the session entitled 'Showcasing Early Career Scientists' on 26-28 May 2009, in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.
Listen to the Managing diseases borne by bats (Podcast 20 Mar 09).