Dr Jorge Tolosa

Dr Jorge Tolosa
Research Program:
Research Topics:

What are your research interests?

  • Immunology of pregnancy: To understand the physiological mechanisms of maternal immune tolerance towards the baby during pregnancy.
  • Susceptibility of pregnant women to viral infections: To understand how the susceptibility of pregnant women to viral infections can be overcome, with a particular focus on influenza.
  • Role of endogenous retroviral proteins and placental exosomes in immunosuppression: 

Why did you get into research? 

Sometimes we underestimate how far reaching the consequences of a good teacher can be. When I was in primary school, in year 5, I had a wonderful Natural Sciences teacher who introduced me to the fascinating world of scientific research. That year I started to get involved in the school's Scientific Academy and we participated in a regional science competition for students and we won first prize. As a 10-year-old boy, this was amazing and a life changing experience. When I finished High School I went directly to university to study biology. I then completed a Master in Sciences (Reproductive Biology) and a PhD in Reproductive Medicine.

What is your dream? 

My dream is to understand the processes involved in immune tolerance during pregnancy. I have the strong conviction that this knowledge will have a direct application not only improving the protection of the mother and her baby against viral infections, but will also have a direct benefit in patients undergoing organ transplantation, and could also be relevant to cancer and how it manages to evade the immune system.


Dr Jorge Tolosa was awarded a University of Newcastle Postgraduate Research Scholarship as well as an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship in order to complete PhD studies in Australia. He completed his PhD in Reproductive Medicine with the University of Newcastle, under the leadership of Laureate Professor Roger Smith.

Dr Tolosa now researches with the Mothers and Babies Research Centre, located at the HMRI Building. He has dedicated his research to elucidating the mechanisms involved in immune tolerance during pregnancy, in particular, studying the role of placental exosomes and retroviral proteins in mediating the susceptibility of pregnant women to influenza infection.

He is part of a team that has contributed to identifying a potential target that could be utilised to improve maternal and foetal outcomes globally during both seasonal and pandemic influenza, as well as other viral and bacterial infections. Concepts and data generated by Dr Tolosa have served as the basis for successful NHMRC project grants, which together have brought in over $1.3 million in funding for the University of Newcastle.    

Dr Tolosa has published peer-reviewed articles in the field and has presented at many prestigious national and international conferences. He is co-author of a book chapter, titled "Mechanisms of Maternal Immune Tolerance During Pregnancy", which was published in 2012 and has been downloaded more than 7,000 times (Recent Advances in Research on the Human Placenta, ISBN 978-953-51-0194-9, edited by Jing Zheng). 

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Cellular biology
  • Cell and tissue explant culture
  • Immunocytochemistry/immunofluorescence
  • Video microscopy and digital image analysis
  • Protein analysis (1D & 2D PAGE, western blot)
  • Recombinant protein production and purification using affinity and size exclusion chromatography
  • Polyclonal antibody production
  • Enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA)
  • Tissue preparation for histological studies, including microtome and cryosectioning


  • Mothers and Babies Research Centre
  • Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science (UoN)
  • University of Newcastle

Dr. Tolosa is also an active reviewer for the peer-reviewed scientific journals;

  • Biology of Reproduction
  • Placenta
  • Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences
  • BioMed Research International