Dr. Saparna Pai is a Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University where she is investigating the role of CD8 T cells in controlling two of the world's deadliest infectious diseases, malaria and tuberculosis. Her research has been funded by several competitive funding schemes including the Australian Academy of Science, NHMRC, Queensland Cancer Council and Ian Potter Foundation.

Saparna began her research career as a PhD scholar at the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. She later moved to QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane where she was conferred the title ‘John Earnshaw Scholar’ by the Queensland Cancer Council to undertake PhD studies on immune-evasion of host CTL response by Epstein-Barr Virus.

She worked as Research Officer at the Translational Research Institute, Brisbane for 7 years in the area of DC biology during which time she was a recipient of the British Medical Association Award for the highly commended 'Medical Book of the Year 2009' in the U.K.

Her motivation to study immune regulation within an in vivo setting led her to The Centenary Institute, Sydney where she established an intravital imaging model that has been adopted by several laboratories around the world. Using this model, Saparna and her team working from 7 institutions/organisations across Australia and the USA discovered that perivascular macrophages and T cells may communicate across the ‘impermeable’ blood-brain barrier in the central nervous system. Her track record in this area is underscored by a lead author 'Editorial' for Frontiers in Immunology.

Over the last 10 years, she has created a network of highly influential researchers in countries such as the U.K, Germany, Australia and the USA. 

Saparna hails from a traditional community of the west coast of India. She is supported by her family.

  • Immune Regulation Inflammation Infectious Disease Intravital Imaging
  • 2017 to present - Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, James Cook University (Smithfield, QLD)
  • 2009 to 2013 - Research Officer, Centenary Institute and University of Sydney (Newtown, NSW)
  • 2002 to 2009 - Research Officer, Translational Research Institute, University of Queensland (Woolloongabba, QLD)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • QUT overseas postgraduate research Scholarship
  • Queensland Cancer Council Travel Award
  • Uniquest Trailblazer Certificate of Merit
  • Queensland Cancer Council Travel Award
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Travel Grant
  • British Medical Association (BMA) Award
  • CASS Foundation Award
  • PAH Basic Science Poster Award Finalist
  • Gordon Research Conference Travel Award
  • Australasian Society of Immunology (ASI) International travel prize
  • John Earnshaw Scholar
  • Queensland Cancer Council Grant
  • Australian Academy of Science Fellowship
  • IIS Junior Research Fellowship
  • 2021 - Australian Society of Immunology
  • 2017 - AITHM EMCR Committee
  • 2012 - Associate Editor, Frontiers in Immunology
  • 2009 - Deputy Secretary, Australian Society of Medical Research-NSW Committe

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
Book Chapters
  • Pai S and Thomas R (2008) Dendritic cells. In: Rheumatoid Arthritis. Mosby, Philadelphia, USA, pp. 116-123

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 21+ research outputs authored by Dr Saparna Pai from 2001 onwards.


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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  • E5.113, AITHM Cairns (Cairns campus)
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