Dr Purnima Bhat

Senior Research Officer, Gastroenterologist
College of Health & Medicine
T: 61 2 6244 4057

Areas of expertise

  • Gastroenterology And Hepatology 110307
  • Tumour Immunology 110709

Research interests

Mucosal immunology

The Gut/Liver axis

Clinical biliary pathology

Development of immunotherapies for GI cancers

Development of immunotherapies for Hepatitis B Virus

Live imaging using in vitro and in vivo techniques


Purnima Bhat is a Senior Research Fellow at the ANU Medical School. She is a practicing clinical Gastroenterologist with appointments at Canberra Hospital, and at Canberra Gastoenterology. Purnima obtained her medical degree at the University of Queensland and specialised in Gastroenterology and Liver Transplantation at the Austin Hospital, Melbourne. She received her PhD from Melbourne University working on transcytosis of Hepatitis B Virus in epithelial cells at the Burnet Institute.

Purnima's research interests focus on mucosal immunology in the gut. Her lab works in translational medicine with a view to the development of novel therapies for diseases such as cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and viral hepatitis.  Her laboratory has developed in vitro and animal models for the examining the gut immune system and applies these methods to investigate the behaviour of diseases in patients.

Purnima is a member of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Ethics Committee which oversees the creation, maintenance and use of publically held databases of health and welfare information on Australians.



Researcher's projects

Investigating the immune system in bowel cancer

Effects of MRCP on ERCP Practice

Role of the gut in HBV transmission and pathogenesis


Available student projects

  • Develop a murine orthotopic model for CRC and investigate the role of immune modulation in vivo in this model.
  • Investigate the role of the immune system in cholangiocarcinoma using 3D cultures and live imaging.

Current student projects

Dietary changes and the tumour microenvironoment in mouse models of colorectal cancer. (Derek Weinert)

Past student projects

The distribution of microsatellite instability mutations in colorectal cancer (Michael Impelido, 2018)

The distribution of microsatellite instability mutations in colorectal cancer (Jiaxue Ruan, 2017)

Monocyte-derived Macrophages in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ingrid Vennonen, 2015)


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Updated:  20 October 2020 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers