Dr Purnima Bhat

MB BS(Qld), FRACP, PhD(Melb)
Senior Lecturer Gastroenterology, ANU School of Medicine and Psychology

Purnima Bhat is a Senior Lecturer staff member at the ANU Medical School. She is a practicing clinical Gastroenterologist with appointments at Canberra Hospital, and at Canberra Gastoenterology in Deakin ACT. 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.




  • Gastroenterology

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

  • Bhat, P & Aabakken, L 2021, 'Role of endoscopy in primary sclerosing cholangitis', Clinical Endoscopy, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 193-201.
  • Ebigbo, A, Karstensen, J, Bhat, P et al. 2020, 'Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gastrointestinal endoscopy in Africa', Endoscopy International Open (EIO), vol. 08, no. 08, pp. E1097-E1101.
  • Karstensen, J, Ebigbo, A, Bhat, P et al. 2020, 'Endoscopic treatment of variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding: European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ESGE) Cascade Guideline', Endoscopy International Open (EIO), vol. 8, no. 7, pp. E990-E997.
  • Raj, A, Shanahan, E, Tran, C et al. 2019, 'Dysbiosis of the Duodenal Mucosal Microbiota Is Associated With Increased Small Intestinal Permeability in Chronic Liver Disease', Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, vol. 10, no. 8.
  • Bhat, P, Leggatt, G, Waterhouse, N et al 2017, 'Interferon-γ derived from cytotoxic lymphocytes directly enhances their motility and cytotoxicity', Cell Death & Disease, vol. 8, no. e2836;, pp. 11pp..
  • Fadia, M, Davis, I, Saheb, S et al. 2017, 'Infiltrating macrophages show evidence of impaired-antigen presentation ability at the growing edge of the tumour in patients with Colorectal Cancer [Meeting abstract]', Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, vol. 32, no. 2, p. 57.
  • Bhat, P, Bergot, A, Waterhouse, N et al 2017, 'Human papillomavirus E7 oncoprotein expression by keratinocytes alters the cytotoxic mechanisms used by CD8 T cells', Oncotarget, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 6015-6027.
  • Raj, A, Shanahan, E, Fletcher, L et al 2016, 'Increased small intestinal permeability in chronic liver disease is associated with reduced abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in the terminal ileum mucosa', The 67th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases: The Liver Meeting, John Wiley & Sons Inc., United States, pp. 340A-341A.
  • Bhat, P, Hendy, P, Reddi, D et al 2016, 'Vitamin D regulates dendritic cell activity and trafficking in Crohn's disease', Gastroenterological Society of Australia, Australian Gastroenterology Week 2016, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia, Australia, pp. 121-122.
  • Bhat, P, Hendy, P, Reddi, D et al 2016, 'Altered tissue homing and cytokine production in dendritic cells and monocytes in Crohn's disease', Gastroenterological Society of Australia, Australian Gastroenterology Week 2016, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia, Australia, pp. 121-121.
  • Vennonen, I, O'Brien, C, Pavli, P et al 2016, 'Reactivity of monocyte-derived macrophages from patients with Crohn's disease', Gastroenterological Society of Australia, Australian Gastroenterology Week 2016, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia, Australia, pp. 126-126.
  • Bhat, P, Leggatt, G, Matthaei, K et al 2014, 'The kinematics of cytotoxic lymphocytes influence their ability to kill target cells', PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science), vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 1-11.
  • Tellam, J, Zhong, J, Lekieffre, L et al 2014, 'mRNA Structural Constraints on EBNA1 Synthesis Impact on In Vivo Antigen Presentation and Early Priming of CD8(+) T Cells', PLoS Pathogens, vol. 10, no. 10, pp. -.
  • Koyama, M, Kuns, R, Olver, S et al 2012, 'Recipient nonhematopoietic antigen-presenting cells are sufficient to induce lethal acute graft-versus-host disease', Nature Medicine, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 135-142.
  • Bhat, P, Mattarollo, S, Gosmann, C et al 2011, 'Regulation of immune responses to HPVinfection and during HPV-directed immunotherapy', Immunological Reviews, vol. 239, no. 1, pp. 85-98.
  • Bhat, P, Snooks, M & Anderson, D 2011, 'Hepatocytes Traffic and Export Hepatitis B Virus Basolaterally by Polarity-Dependent Mechanisms', Journal of Virology, vol. 85, no. 23, pp. 12474-12481.
  • Bhat, P & Thorn, P 2009, 'Myosin 2 maintains an open exocytic fusion pore in secretory epithelial cells', Molecular Biology of the Cell, vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 1795-1803pp.
  • Snooks, M, Bhat, P, Mackenzie, J et al 2008, 'Vectorial entry and release of hepatitis A virus in polarized human hepatocytes', Journal of Virology, vol. 82, no. 17, pp. 8733-8742pp.
  • Larina, O, Bhat, P, Pickett, J et al 2007, 'Dynamic regulation of the large exocytotic fusion pore in pancreatic acinar cells', Molecular Biology of the Cell, vol. 18, no. 9, pp. 3502-3511pp.
  • Bhat, P & Anderson, D 2007, 'Hepatitis B virus translocates across a trophoblastic barrier', Journal of Virology, vol. 81, no. 13, pp. 7200-7207pp.

Liver physiology
Pancreatitis FRS

Supervised students