About

Dr. Paul Giacomin is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine at JCU Cairns. Since completing his PhD studies at the University of Adelaide in 2008, his research interests have focussed on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which immune responses to parasitic helminths (worms) are initiated and regulated. Dr. Giacomin underwent his postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania between 2008 and 2012 in the laboratory of Dr. David Artis, where he was awarded fellowships from the American-Australian Association, as well as the NHMRC, to conduct his research. Dr. Giacomin continued his fellowship at JCU Cairns in 2012, where he continues to investigate the key immune cells and cytokines involved in immunity to intestinal worms, as well as exploring the potential beneficial effects that worm infection may have in alleviating inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases.

Teaching
  • TM5503: Human Parasitology (Level 5; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • Immunity to gastrointestinal helminths
  • Epithelial regulation of Type 2 inflammatory responses to parasites and allergens
  • Therapeutic roles for helminths and helminth-derived proteins for treating allergic or autoimmune diseases
Experience
  • 2016 to 2019 - Advance QLD Mid-Career Fellow, James Cook Univers (Australia)
  • 2012 to 2015 - NHMRC CJ Martin Research Fellow, James Cook University, Cairns (Australia)
  • 2010 to 2012 - NHMRC CJ Martin Research Fellow, University of Pennsylvania (USA)
  • 2009 - Research Fellow, University of Pennsylvania (USA)
  • 2008 to 2009 - Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, University of Pennsylvania (USA)
  • 2003 to 2008 - PhD candidate, University of Adelaide (Australia)
  • 2002 - BSc (Hons), University of Adelaide (Australia)
  • 1999 to 2002 - BSc (Biomedical Science), University of Adelaide (Australia)
Research Disciplines
Honours
Fellowships
  • 2010 to 2014 - NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow
  • 2008 to 2009 - Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, American Australian Association
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 58+ research outputs authored by Dr Paul Giacomin from 2002 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

CRC for Developing Northern Australia - Grant

Novel therapeutics for diabetes sourced from Northern Australian biota.

Indicative Funding
$562,891 over 1 year (administered by Macrobiome Therapeutics)
Summary
he aim of this project is to develop lead diabetes drug candidates from hookworm saliva and build a package for multinational commercial investment. The project aims to deliver the following outcomes: 1. Screen a synthetic hookworm library (consisting of hundreds of hookworm proteins) for anti-inflammatory activity and express lead candidates using pharmaceutical industry standard techniques. 2. Assess efficacy of leads in mouse models of diet-induced T2D. 3. Understand the mechanism of lead drug action and prioritize candidates for progression into clinical development. 4. Set the scene for a burgeoning biotech industry in Northern Australia that is differentiated from those in the south, and indeed globally, by capitalizing on the unique biodiversity of the region and the therapeutic opportunities it presents.
Investigators
Paul Giacomin and Alex Loukas (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Keywords
Diabetes; Hookworm Library; Hookworm saliva

Coeliac Australia - Exploratory Grant

Exploring new therapeutic approaches for coeliac disease based on biological effects of hookworm treatment

Indicative Funding
$45,455 over 1 year
Summary
We hypothesise that hookworm infection creates an anti-inflammatory environment in the small intestine that favours improved gluten intolerance in coeliac disease, and undersstanding the biological mechanisms that lead to improved gluten intolerance will advance the development of novel theraplies that will not require being infected with live worms. The overall aim of this project is to comprehensively profile the biological responses in the gut and faeces using innovative, complementary techniques (RNA-sequencing, transcriptomic imaging and microbiome analyses) and correlate these changes with improved coeliac disease outcomes.
Investigators
Paul Giacomin, John Croese, Graham Radford Smith, Nathan Subramaniam, Tony Rahman and Alex Loukas (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, The Prince of Wales Hospital, Royal Brisbane & Women?s Hospital, Queensland University of Technology, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Coeliac Disease; Microbiome; Inflammation; Hookworm; Inflammation

National Health & Medical Research Council - Development Grant

Hookworm peptide therapeutic for oral treatment of IBD

Indicative Funding
$732,700 over 2 years
Summary
We intend to develop an orally delivered peptide that can modulate the immune system and be developed as a therapeutic for inflammatory bowel disease. We have identified a peptide, derived from a hookworm protein, that alleviates the clinical symptoms of experimental colitis when orally administered to mice. The peptide has bioactivity with human cells ex vivo and displays desirable drug-like properties. The aim of this project is to acquire further data on the mechanism of action and formulation conditions to facilitate formal product development prior to licensing and clinical trials.
Investigators
Alex Loukas, Norelle Daly, Paul Giacomin, John Miles, Roland Ruscher, Keith Dredge, Istvan Toth, Mariusz Skwarczynski, Matthew Moyle, Ashley Waardenberg, John Croese, Matt Field and Tony Rahman (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, The University of Queensland and The Prince Charles Hospital)
Keywords
Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Peptide; therapeutic; Hookworm; Oral delivery

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Grant

Laser based diagnostics for STH infections

Indicative Funding
$43,000 over 2 years (administered by University of Queensland)
Summary
Developing novel laser based methods for rapid diagnosis and quantification of parasitic worm infection in various animal and human biological tissue samples, with the end goal of a point-of-care, rapid and sensitive diagnostic,
Investigators
Maggy Lord, Ricardo Soares Magalhaes and Paul Giacomin (The University of Queensland and Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Keywords
Helminth; Parasite

National Health & Medical Research Council - Project Grant

Hookworm therapy for Coeliac Disease: A randomised, double blink, placebo-controlled clinical trial

Indicative Funding
$865,000 over 5 years
Summary
Parasitic worms have an amazing ability to manipulate the immune system, and our research group recently discovered how they may hold the key for treating inflammatory diseases such as Coeliac Disease. The aim of this research is to further develop this novel therapy in a clinical trial and study the mechanism of how worms control the immune response, including identifying the molecules that the worm produces that could be produced as a pill-based medication for treating coeliac disease.
Investigators
John Croese, Paul Giacomin, Graham Radford-Smith, Tony Rahman and Louise Marquart (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, Queensland Institute of Medical Research and The Prince Charles Hospital)
Keywords
Autoimmunity; Parasite; Inflammation

Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation - Research Grant

Can experimental hookworm infection prevent metabolic disease/Type 2 diabetes?

Indicative Funding
$24,810 over 1 year
Summary
We will conduct a world-first clinical trial in Cairns testing the safety and efficacy of experimental hookworm infection in women at risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. For this application we will examine how worm infection alters the microbiome, a potental mechanism of how worms control metabolism.
Investigators
Paul Giacomin in collaboration with Robyn McDermott, Alex Loukas, John Miles and Matt Field (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
metabolism; Obesity; microbiome; Parasitic infection; Clinical trial; inflammation

QLD Department of Environment and Science - Advance Queensland Research Fellowship

New therapies for Coeliac Disease: Helminths and their secreted products.

Indicative Funding
$300,000 over 3 years
Summary
Coeliac Disease (CeD) is a common and debilitating autoimmune disorder (affecting 1% of the Queensland population) where gluten ingestion triggers an inflammatory reaction and severe intestinal symptoms. A gluten-free diet is effective for some, but is expensive, inconvenient and inadvertant gluten exposure is common. Hence there is a need for new new treatements for CeD. In a recent clinical trial, our research group demonstrated the efficacy of an unlikely agent to imporive gluten tolerance; parasitic helominths (worms). The overall aim of my research is to translate this movel thereapy into a larger, placebo-controlled clinical trail and study the mechanisms by which worms control the immune response. Identification of the molecules that the worms prodcue to suppress gluten-induced pathology will allow the development of "pill-based" medcations for CeD, and potentially other autoimmune or inflammatory conditions.
Investigators
Paul Giacomin, John Croese, Tony Rahman and Graham Radford Smith (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and The Prince Charles Hospital)
Keywords
Autoimmunity; Inflammation; Parasite; Clinical Trial

Coeliac Australia - Project Grant

Hookworm therapy for restoring tolerance in coeliac disease

Indicative Funding
$86,110 over 1 year
Summary
Parasitic worms have an amazing ability to manipulate the immune system, and our research group recently discovered how they may hold the key for treating inflammatory diseases such as Coeliac Disease. The aim of our reseach is to further develop this novel therapy in a clinical trial and study the mechanism of how worms control the immune response, including identifying the molecules that the work produces that could be produced as a pill-based medication for treating coeliac disease.
Investigators
John Croese, Paul Giacomin, Tony Rahman and Alex Loukas (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, The Prince Charles Hospital, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Autoimmunity; Parasite; Inflammation
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Airway Resident Memory T Cell Development and Persistence: The Key to Induction of Sterile Immunity against Pulmonary Tuberculosis? (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Experimental Hookworm Infection in Humans with Metabolic Disease (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Identification of viral versus bacterial triggers in immune cells from AECOPD patients (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Role of Intestinal T Cells in Gut Homeostasis and Disease (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
Completed
Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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Email
Phone
Location
  • E5.105, AITHM Cairns (Cairns campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Primary Advisor
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  5. Prof Norelle Daly
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