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Helen  E  Thomas

Helen E Thomas


PhD, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, University of Melbourne, 2000

Current position

Helen Thomas is a Senior Research Fellow at St Vincent’s Institute in Melbourne. She is head of the Immunology and Diabetes Unit. Her research is focused on the mechanisms of pancreatic beta cell death in diabetes, and in understanding the interaction between islets and immune cells in type 1 diabetes. She is also a senior scientist with the Tom Mandel Islet Transplant Program in Victoria.


  1. Trivedi, P., Graham, K. L., Krishnamurthy, B., Fynch, S., Slattery, R. M., Kay, T. W. and Thomas, H. E. (2016). Perforin facilitates beta cell killing and regulates autoreactive CD8(+) T-cell responses to antigen in mouse models of type 1 diabetes. Immunol Cell Biol 94(4): 334-341.
  2. Joglekar, M. V., Trivedi, P. M., Kay, T. W., Hawthorne, W. J., O'Connell, P. J., Jenkins, A. J., Hardikar, A. A. and Thomas, H. E. (2016). Human islet cells are killed by BID-independent mechanisms in response to FAS ligand. Apoptosis 21(4): 379-389.
  3. Zhao, Y., Scott, N. A., Quah, H. S., Krishnamurthy, B., Bond, F., Loudovaris, T., Mannering, S. I., Kay, T. W. and Thomas, H. E. (2015). Mouse pancreatic beta cells express MHC class II and stimulate CD4(+) T cells to proliferate. Eur J Immunol 45(9): 2494-2503.
  4. Zhao, Y., Scott, N. A., Fynch, S., Elkerbout, L., Wong, W. W., Mason, K. D., Strasser, A., Huang, D. C., Kay, T. W. and Thomas, H. E. (2015). Autoreactive T cells induce necrosis and not BCL-2-regulated or death receptor-mediated apoptosis or RIPK3-dependent necroptosis of transplanted islets in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes. Diabetologia 58(1): 140-148.
  5. Krishnamurthy, B., Chee, J., Jhala, G., Trivedi, P., Catterall, T., Selck, C., Gurzov, E. N., Brodnicki, T. C., Graham, K. L., Wali, J. A., Zhan, Y., Gray, D., Strasser, A., Allison, J., Thomas, H. E. and Kay, T. W. (2015). BIM Deficiency Protects NOD Mice From Diabetes by Diverting Thymocytes to Regulatory T Cells. Diabetes 64(9): 3229-3238.
  6. Quah, H. S., Miranda-Hernandez, S., Khoo, A., Harding, A., Fynch, S., Elkerbout, L., Brodnicki, T. C., Baxter, A. G., Kay, T. W., Thomas, H. E. and Graham, K. L. (2014). Deficiency in type I interferon signaling prevents the early interferon-induced gene signature in pancreatic islets but not type 1 diabetes in NOD mice. Diabetes 63(3): 1032-1040.
  7. Wali, J. A., Rondas, D., McKenzie, M. D., Zhao, Y., Elkerbout, L., Fynch, S., Gurzov, E. N., Akira, S., Mathieu, C., Kay, T. W., Overbergh, L., Strasser, A. and Thomas, H. E. (2014). The proapoptotic BH3-only proteins Bim and Puma are downstream of endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondrial oxidative stress in pancreatic islets in response to glucotoxicity. Cell Death Dis 5: e1124.
  8. Graham, K. L., Sutherland, R. M., Mannering, S. I., Zhao, Y., Chee, J., Krishnamurthy, B., Thomas, H. E., Lew, A. M. and Kay, T. W. (2012). Pathogenic mechanisms in type 1 diabetes: the islet is both target and driver of disease. Rev Diabet Stud 9(4): 148-168.
  9. Angstetra, E., Graham, K. L., Zhao, Y., Irvin, A. E., Elkerbout, L., Santamaria, P., Slattery, R. M., Kay, T. W. and Thomas, H. E. (2012). An indirect role for NK cells in a CD4(+) T-cell-dependent mouse model of type I diabetes. Immunol Cell Biol 90(2): 243-247.
  10. Graham, K. L., Krishnamurthy, B., Fynch, S., Mollah, Z. U., Slattery, R., Santamaria, P., Kay, T. W. and Thomas, H. E. (2011). Autoreactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes acquire higher expression of cytotoxic effector markers in the islets of NOD mice after priming in pancreatic lymph nodes. Am J Pathol 178(6): 2716-2725.
  11. McKenzie, M. D., Jamieson, E., Jansen, E. S., Scott, C. L., Huang, D. C., Bouillet, P., Allison, J., Kay, T. W., Strasser, A. and Thomas, H. E. (2010). Glucose induces pancreatic islet cell apoptosis that requires the BH3-only proteins Bim and Puma and multi-BH domain protein Bax. Diabetes 59(3): 644-652.
  12. Thomas, H. E., McKenzie, M. D., Angstetra, E., Campbell, P. D. and Kay, T. W. (2009). Beta cell apoptosis in diabetes. Apoptosis 14(12): 1389-1404.
  13. Campbell, P. D., Estella, E., Dudek, N. L., Jhala, G., Thomas, H. E., Kay, T. W. and Mannering, S. I. (2008). Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-mediated killing of human pancreatic islet cells in vitro. Hum Immunol 69(9): 543-551.
Protocols by Helen E Thomas
  1. Isolation and Culture of the Islets of Langerhans from Mouse Pancreas