Dr Paul Giacomin
James Cook University
Every day our immune system faces the enormous task of protecting us from infections. However, in some diseases, our immune system loses its balance and can attack our own body (during autoimmune diseases). Unfortunately, there are very few treatments available for autoimmune and allergic diseases. Dr Giacomin’s research has potentially discovered an unlikely cure for a common autoimmune disease, Parasitic worms. His team recently showed that these creatures have an amazing ability to restore the balance of the immune system in people with Coeliac Disease, an autoimmune disease triggered by eating gluten-containing foods. Paul aims to extend on these exciting findings, by conducting studies to better understand what the worms release into the body to balance our immune system to ultimately develop a pill-based medicine which would greatly improve the health and lifestyle of people with this disease.
Paul gave a public lecture entitled “Worms! A cure for Inflammatory Diseases?” at the International Day of Immunology and published an article in Australasian Science. His work has also featured online at IFLS and Nova. A television feature on my research is in production for the children’s television show “Scope” and I hosted a school-age community event in Cairns showcasing the unique research that goes on in Far North Queensland.