Welcome to the Maini Group
As well as being of great medical importance in its own right, HBV provides a useful model to provide insights into liver immunology, which has relevance for other hepatotropic infections and malignancies, liver transplantation and autoimmunity.
We have become fascinated by how the liver utilises multiple specialised cell types and pathways to maintain a uniquely tolerant immunological environment. Defining the mechanisms of hepatic tolerance is critical to understanding how three of the most prevalent and devastating human pathogens - HBV, Hepatitis C virus and malaria - take advantage of this niche in which to replicate and/or persist.
We are also interested in how hepatic immune responses mediate and regulate the liver damage that drives fibrosis, ultimately leading to the complications of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) that still kill an estimated 600,000 people a year with chronic HBV infection. Existing therapies are rarely able to cure HBV or complications like HCC so our goal is to develop tailored boosting of antiviral immunity. The rationale for this approach is based on the fact that many adults control HBV through their natural immune response without overwhelming liver damage.