Associate Professor Meru Sheel

Honorary Associate Professor


I am a global health researcher and an infectious diseases epidemiologist with expertise in public health emergencies, emerging infectious and vaccine-preventable diseases.

I earned a PhD in life sciences from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and the Queensland University of Technology working on new vaccines for bacterial pathogens (group A streptococcus). I completed my post-doctoral training in parasite immunology with a focus on malaria and visceral leishmaniasis. I have an MPhil in Applied Epidemiology (MAE program) in 2017, following which I worked at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. I have worked in several dynamic and challenging environments in Australia and in the Asia-Pacific region including India, Cambodia, Samoa, American Samoa. I have responded to international emergencies in Fiji, Dominica, Rohingya Crisis in Cox's Bazar Bangladesh, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

In 2019, I was awarded a Westpac Research Fellowship (2019-2022) to conduct operational research in health emergencies in the context of infectious diseases and global health security.

I am a strong advocate for gender equity and passionate about seeing women in leadership positions. I am active science communicator and advocate for increasing STEMM-trained workforce globally.

In 2019 I was recognised as the Science and Medicine winner for 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians. In 2020, I was awarded the ANU Vice Chancellor's Awards for Impact and Engagement.


Research interests

  • Public health emergencies
  • Epidemic response
  • Infectious diseases epidemiology
  • Vaccine-preventable diseases and immunisation
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Development and deployment of vaccines for health emergencies
  • Immuno-epidemiology
  • Operational research in the context of international health



  • Sheel, M, Lau, C, Sheridan, S et al. 2021, 'Comparison of immunochromatographic test (Ict) and filariasis test strip (fts) for detecting lymphatic filariasis antigen in american samoa, 2016', Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 1-8.
  • Hand, R, Senarathna, S, Page-Sharp, M et al. 2020, 'Quality of benzathine penicillin G: A multinational cross-sectional study', Pharmacology Research & Perspectives
    , vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 1-7.
  • Lau, C, Sheel, M, Gass , K et al. 2020, 'Potential strategies for strengthening surveillance of lymphatic filariasis in American Samoa after mass drug administration: Reducing 'number needed to test' by targeting older age groups, hotspots, and household members of infected persons', PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 14, no. 12.
  • Hedtke , S, Zendejas-heredia , P, Graves , P et al. 2020, 'Genetic epidemiology of lymphatic filariasis in American Samoa after mass drug administration', International Journal for Parasitology, vol. 51, no. 2-3, pp. 137-147.
  • Vardoulakis, S, Sheel, M, Lal, A et al. 2020, 'COVID-19 environmental transmission and preventive public health measures', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, vol. Online.
  • Seale, H, Heywood, A, Leask, J et al. 2020, 'COVID-19 is rapidly changing: Examining public perceptions and behaviors in response to this evolving pandemic', PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science), pp. 1-13.
  • Sheel, M, Good, M, Batzloff, M et al. 2010, 'Correlation between Bioluminescence and Bacterial Burden in Passively Protected Mice Challenged with a Recombinant Bioluminescent M49 Group A Streptococcus Strain', Clinical and Translational Immunology, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 127-133.
  • Sheel, M, Tippins , A, Glass, K et al. 2020, 'Electronic immunization registers � A tool for mitigating outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the Pacific', Vaccine, vol. 38, no. 28, pp. 4395-4398.
  • Kumar, R, Bunn, P, Singh, S et al. 2020, 'Type I Interferons Suppress Anti-parasitic Immunity and Can Be Targeted to Improve Treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis', Cell Reports, vol. 30, pp. 2512-2525.
  • Kumar, R, Bunn, P, Singh, S et al. 2020, 'Type I Interferons Suppress Anti-parasitic
    Immunity and Can Be Targeted to Improve Treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis', Cell Reports, vol. 30, pp. 2512-2525.
  • Lazar, S & Sheel, M 2020, 'Contact tracing apps are vital tools in the fight against coronavirus. But who decides how they work?', The Conversation, no. 12 May, 2020.
  • Joseph, J, Kent, N, Bowen, A et al. 2017, 'Immuno-nephelometric determination of group streptococcal anti-streptolysin O titres (ASOT) from dried blood spots: Method for validating a new assay', Journal of Immunological Methods, vol. 448, pp. 59-65.
  • de Oca, M, Kumar, R, de Labastida Rivera, F et al. 2016, 'Blimp-1-Dependent IL-10 Production by Tr1 Cells Regulates TNF-Mediated Tissue Pathology', PLoS Pathogens, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1-21.
  • Wyber, R, Boyd, B, Colquhoun, S et al. 2016, 'Preliminary consultation on preferred product characteristics of benzathine penicillin G for secondary prophylaxis of rheumatic fever', Drug Delivery and Translational Research, vol. 6, pp. 572-578.
  • Haque, A, Best, S, de Oca, M et al. 2014, 'Type I IFN signaling in CD8� DCs impairs Th1-dependent malaria immunity', Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol. 124, no. 6, pp. 2483-2496.
  • Bannister-Tyrrell, M, Viney, K, Happold, J et al 2019, Health Security: State of the Region 2019 in the Indo Pacific
  • Saravanos, G, Sheel, M, Homaira, N et al. 2019, 'Respiratory syncytial virus-associated hospitalisations in Australia, 2006-2015', The Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 210, no. 10, pp. 447-453.
  • Ng, S, Souza-Fonseca-Guimaraes, F, de Labastida Rivera, F et al 2018, 'Rapid loss of group 1 innate lymphoid cells during blood stage Plasmodium infection', Clinical and Translational Immunology, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. -.
  • Montagnat, O, Webster, G, Bulitta, J et al. 2018, 'Lessons learned in the development of sustained release penicillin drug delivery systems for the prophylactic treatment of rheumatic heart disease (RHD)', Drug Delivery and Translational Research, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 729-739.
  • Sheel, M, Beard, F, Quinn, H et al. 2018, 'Australian vaccine preventable disease epidemiological review series: varicella-zoster virus infections, 1998-2015', Communicable Diseases Intelligence, vol. 42, no. 18.
  • Sheel M, Collins J, Kama M, Nand D, Faktaufon D, Samuela J, Biaukula V, Haskew C, Flint J, Roper K, Merianos A, Kirk M & Nilles E, 2019, 'Evaluation of the early warning, alert and response system after Cyclone Winston, Fiji, 2016
    ', Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 97, no. 3, pp. 169-244.
  • Alam, N, Kenny, B, Maguire, J et al. 2018, 'Field epidemiology in action: an Australian perspective of epidemic response
    to the Rohingya health emergencies in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
    ', Global Biosecurity, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 119-122.
  • Bunn, P, de Oca, M, de Labastida Rivera, F et al 2018, 'Distinct Roles for CD4(+) Foxp3(+) Regulatory T Cells and IL-10-Mediated Immunoregulatory Mechanisms during Experimental Visceral Leishmaniasis Caused by Leishmania donovani', Journal of Immunology, vol. 201, no. 11, pp. 3362-3372pp.
  • Collins J, Biaukula V, Faktaufon D, Flint J, Fullman S, Jalava K, Kailawadoko J, Merianos A, Nilles E, Roper K, Sheel M and Kama M, 2018, 'An outbreak investigation of paediatric severe acute respiratory infections requiring admission to intensive care units - Fiji, May 2016', Western Pacific Surveillance and Response, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 1-5.
  • Sheel, M, Sheridan, S, Gass, K et al 2018, 'Identifying residual transmission of lymphatic filariasis after mass drug administration: Comparing school-based versus community-based surveillance - American Samoa, 2016', PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 12, no. 7, pp. 1-11.
  • Sheel, M, Beard , F, Dey, A et al. 2017, 'Rates of hospitalisation for herpes zoster may warrant vaccinating Indigenous Australians under 70', Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 207, no. 9, pp. 395-396pp.
  • Bunn, P, de Oca, M, de Labastida Rivera, F et al 2017, 'Galectin-1 impairs the generation of anti-parasitic Th1 cell responses in the liver during experimental visceral leishmaniasis', Frontiers in Immunology, vol. 8, no. 1307, pp. -.
  • Faleiro, R, Kumar, R, Bunn, P et al 2016, 'Combined Immune Therapy for the Treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis', PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. -.
  • de Oca, M, Kumar, R, de Labastida Rivera, F et al 2016, 'Type I Interferons Regulate Immune Responses in Humans with Blood-Stage Plasmodium falciparum Infection', Cell Reports, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 399-412.
  • Sheel, M, Moreland, N, Fraser, J et al 2016, 'Development of Group A streptococcal vaccines: An unmet global health need', Expert Review of Vaccines, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 227-238.
  • Sheel, M, Beattie, L, Frame, T et al 2015, 'IL-17A-producing γδ T cells suppress early control of parasite growth by monocytes in the liver', Journal of Immunology, vol. 195, no. 12, pp. 5707-5717.
  • Bunn, P, Stanley, A, de Labastida Rivera, F et al 2014, 'Tissue requirements for establishing long-term CD4+ T cell-mediated immunity following Leishmania donovani infection', Journal of Immunology, vol. 192, no. 8, pp. 3709-3718.
  • Sheel, M & Engwerda, C 2012, 'The diverse roles of monocytes in inflammation caused by protozoan parasitic diseases', Trends in Parasitology, vol. 28, no. 10, p. 263.
  • Stanley, A, de Labastida, F, Haque, A et al 2011, 'Critical Roles for LIGHT and Its Receptors in Generating T Cell-Mediated Immunity during Leishmania donovani Infection', PLoS Pathogens, vol. 7, no. 10, pp. 1-15pp.