Thomas Proft is an Associate Professor in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the School of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland. He received his MSc and PhD in Molecular Microbiology at the Centre for Molecular Biology Heidelberg, University of Heidelberg, Germany.
Thomas’ research focuses on the virulence mechanisms of the human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes (or Group A Streptococcus). He has discovered a novel family of streptococcal superantigens and his research contributed to the understanding of how these potent mitogens interact with MHC class II and T cell receptor. More recently, his research focuses on other streptococcal virulence factors, including pili and other cell wall-anchored proteins. Other projects include the generation of bioluminescent Group A Streptococcus for biophotonic imaging and the identification of potential targets for vaccine development.
Thomas is the recipient of an Early Career Research Excellence Award from the University of Auckland (2001), an Invitrogen™ Young Investigator Award (2004) and a Hercus Research Fellowship from the Health Research Council NZ (2004-2008). He currently serves as Deputy Head of Department (Molecular Medicine & Pathology).
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