CSTFA Our Research Seafood and Human Health

Seafood and Human Health

James Cook University is globally recognized for its research strength on seafood consumption and subsequent reactions with the human health system. The molecular investigation of seafood has influenced the development of novel and improved diagnostics and detection systems for specific seafood proteins, including barramundi, salmon, tuna, basa, cod, crabs, oyster and five prawn species from the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, the health effects of purified components are investigated in whole animal models to develop nutraceuticals for improved health in consumer as well as important aquaculture species. The university also boasts a world-leading comprehensive teaching program in molecular biology and immunology with specific application in food allergy, toxicology and development of therapeutics.

Almost half of the world’s population have allergies to one or more common environmental and/or food allergens. The allergic reaction is triggered by the activation of IgE(antibody)-binding cells, via specific receptors, in the exposed tissues leading to a series of cellular and immunological responses that are characteristic of an allergy reaction.

The investigation of allergens and immunologic responses has moved to a more molecular approach to develop advanced strategies of detecting and treating allergy. The characterisation and generation of recombinant allergens are fundamental for the development of novel and improved diagnostics and future immunotherapeutics. The expertise in molecular and immuno-biochemical techniques has been applied in a range of international industry focuses and multidisciplinary seafood research areas.

Current research projects involve national and international collaborators including South Africa, Germany, Norway, Japan and Canada.

Specialty expertise areas

  • Seafood Allergen identification and molecular characterisation
  • Development of allergen diagnostics
  • Marine Biotoxins analysis
  • Marine Parasites
  • Biomarkers in Aquaculture Research

Dr Andreas Lopata

E andreas.lopata@jcu.edu.au P +61 7 4781 4563

  • Bio-molecular studies for improved diagnosis and management of Australian children with fish allergy
  • Improved allergy diagnostics for adults and children in Far North Queensland with shellfish allergy
  • Adverse reactions to seafood: Molecular and immunological approaches in managing an Australasian epidemic
  • Hypoallergenic proteins as novel immunotherapeutic candidates for food seafood allergy
  • Tackling long-term food and seafood allergy among children to recurrent tropical allergens
  • Epidemiological studies on adverse reactions to seafood in Vietnam