Contact Details

Associate Professor
School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, BNE, QUEENSLAND 4072
+61 3365 2785
+61 3365 1766

Associate Professor Phipps obtained a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology from the University of Bath (1996), and a PhD in Immunopathology from Imperial College London (2002). He undertook a post-doctoral fellowship at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU before moving to the University of Newcastle (2004). Dr Phipps received the University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor’s award for research excellence (2008) and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2009. Dr. Phipps joined the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland in 2010.

Research Interests: 

Innate immune processes that underlie the pathogenesis of allergic asthma, emphysema and bronchiolitis.
Dr. Phipps’ research program employs both in vitro and in vivo model systems to elucidate the relationship between innate pattern recognition receptors (PRR) and the programming of aberrant immunologic processes that underlie the development of distinct endophenotypes of asthma, emphysema and virus-associated bronchiolitis. The group also has an interest in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) formation and the contribution of BALT to host defense.

Ten career-best publications

1.         G.E.Kaiko, Z.Loh, K.Spann, A.Lalwani, S.Davidson, Z.Zhang, S.Uematsu, S.Akira, K.Baines, J.L. Simpson, P.S. Foster and S.Phipps. TLR7 gene deficiency and early-life Pneumovirus infection interact to predispose toward the development of asthma-like pathology in mice. J.Allergy Clin.Immunol. (2013) 131(5), 1331-9 [Impact Factor: 11.0]

By modelling a clinically relevant gene-environment interaction, we have developed a unique and sophisticated mouse model of virus-induced asthma that will accelerate the understanding of pathogenic processes that underlie the pathogenesis of asthma.

2          S.Davidson, G.Kaiko, Z.Loh. A.Lalwani, V.Zhang, K.Spann, S.Y.Foo, N.Hansbro, S.Uematsu, S.Akira, K.I.Matthaei, H.F.Rosenberg, P.S.Foster, S.Phipps. Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells Promote Host Defense Against Acute Pneumovirus Infection via theTLR7-MyD88-Dependent Signaling Pathway. J. Immunol. (2011) 186(10), 5938-4 [Impact Factor: 5.65]

This paper demonstrates that TLR7 expression by pDC promotes the induction of antiviral immunity in early life against low dose infection with the mouse-specific Pneumovirus, Pneumonia virus of mice (PVM).

3.         J.Mattes, A.Collison, M.Plank, S.Phipps, P.S.Foster. MicroRNAs Bridge Innate and Adaptive Immunity: Induction of Th2 Mediated Allergic Airways Disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2009) 106(44):18704-9 [Impact Factor: 9.60]

This paper was the first to report a role for a micro-RNA in the development of allergen induced Th2 immunity.

4.         S.Phipps, C.E.Lam, G.E.Kaiko, A.Foo, A.Collison, J.Mattes, J.Barry, S.Davidson, K.Oreo, L.Smith, A.Mansell, K.I.Matthaei, P.S.Foster. Toll-Interleukin-1 signalling is critical for house dust mite-specific Th2 and Th17 responses. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. (2009) 179:883-93 [Impact Factor: 10.19]

This landmark publication, together with an article by Lambrecht and colleagues published in Nature Medicine (also 2009) demonstrated that house-dust mite-induced Th2 responses were dependent on TLR4 and not TLR2.

5.         S.Phipps, C.E.Lam, S.Mahalingam, M.Newhouse, R.Ramirez, H.F.Rosenberg, P.S.Foster, K.I.Matthaei. Eosinophils contribute to innate anti-viral immunity in the lung and promote clearance of respiratory syncytial virus. Blood. (2007) 110: 1578-1586 [Impact Factor: 10.9]

This publication challenged the accepted dogma that eosinophils do not protect against virus infections, and demonstrated that eosinophils express functional toll-like receptors.

6.         H.F.Rosenberg, S.Phipps, P.S.Foster. Eosinophil Trafficking in Allergy and Asthma. J. Aller. Clin. Immunol. (2007) 119: 1303-10 [Impact Factor: 7.7]

This state-of-the-art review article summarised new knowledge surrounding the recruitment and migration of eosinophils.

7.         S.Phipps, F.Benyahia, T.Ou, J.Barkans, D.S.Robinson and A.B.Kay. Acute allergen-induced airway remodeling in atopic asthma. Am J Respir Cell Mol.Biol. (2004) 31: 626-632 [Impact Factor: 4.175]

This paper demonstrated that features of airway remodelling occur rapidly in response to allergen challenge, debunking the idea that such alterations occur slowly and in response to chronic inflammation.

8.         S.Phipps, P.Flood-Page, A.Menzies-Gow, Y.E.Ong, and A.B.Kay. Effect of intravenous administration of an anti-IL-5 monoclonal antibody (mepolizumab) on allergen-induced tissue eosinophils,the late-phase allergic skin reaction and tenascin deposition in human atopic subjectsJ. Invest. Dermatol. (2004) 122:1406-1412 [Impact Factor: 4.238]

Using a humanised mAb to anti-IL-5 in vivo, this clinical paper demonstrated that eosinophils induce fibroblast tenascin expression during the cutaneous late phase reaction, identifying a new role for eosinophils.  

9.         P.Flood-Page, A.Menzies-Gow, S.Phipps, S.Ying, A.Wangoo, M.Ludwig, N.Barnes, D.S.Robinson, and A.B.Kay. Anti-IL-5 treatment (mepolizumab) reduces deposition of extracellular matrix proteins in the bronchial subepithelial basement membrane of mild atopic asthmatics: evidence for a role for eosinophils in airways remodeling. J Clin Invest. (2003) 112:1029-36 [Impact Factor: 14.307]

This paper definitively showed that eosinophil depletion in man decreases the deposition of matrix proteins at epithelial basement membrane of asthmatics, establishing a new function of eosinophils. 

10.       S.Phipps, S.Ying, A.Wangoo, Y.E.Ong, F.Levi-Schaffer, and A.B.Kay. The relationship between allergen-induced tissue eosinophilia and markers of repair and remodeling in human atopic skin. J Immunol. (2002) 169:4604-4612 [Impact Factor: 7.014]

This clinical paper demonstrated that eosinophils express transforming growth factor-b during the late-phase cutaneous reaction and promote the differentiation of myofibroblasts, and led to a paradigm shift in the field. 

Funded Projects: 

PhD and Hons Projects

Students interested in undertaking research higher degrees are encouraged to contact Dr. Phipps. The following projects are available:
  • Defective innate immunity and the onset of virus-associated childhood asthma
  • Molecular signals that promote the formation of inducible bronchus-associated lymphoid tissues (iBALT).
  • Virus induced NRLP3 inflammasome activation and cell death.

The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand
The Australian Lung Foundation
The Australasian Society for Immunology.


Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre

Defective toll-like receptor 7 signalling underlies the inception and exacerbations of asthma.
National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant.
S.Phipps, J.Upham. A$533,675 (2012-2014)
Towards new therapeutic treatments for asthma.
National Health and Medical Research Council Development Grant.
M.Smythe, J.Flanigan, S.Phipps. A$417,340 (2012-2014)
The pathogenesis of distinct endophenotypes of asthma is underpinned by the collaborative activation of specific PRRs.
National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant.
S.Phipps, J.Simpson. A$654,875 (2010-2012)
Pneumovirus infection in infancy affects the development of life-long adaptive immunity
National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant.
S.Phipps. A$392,125 (2008-2010).
Qualifications and Awards: