Human genetics and genomics (Neuroscience and infectious diseases)
After completing a Ph.D. at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in 1996 on malaria molecular biology and genomics, he changed fields to research the genetic basis of human neurological diseases at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford (UK). He was awarded a Howard Florey Post-doctoral Fellowship (Royal Society, London) in 1997 and was instrumental in the discovery of the gene for chorea acanthocytosis. He returned to WEHI in 1999 as Project Leader of the Genes-CRC Tasmanian Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Project and mapped a susceptibility locus for MS in the class I region of the HLA complex.
In 2004, he was awarded an NHMRC Biomedical Career Development Award and in the same year established The Neurogenetics Laboratory at the Howard Florey Institute. From 2007-2009 he led the ANZgene MS Genetics Consortium’s whole genome scan project, which identified CD40 and CYP27B1 as novel susceptibility genes for MS.
In 2009, he was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship, which he declined in order to take a position in the Genetics Division at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK, UK). At GSK, he led a programme of genetic and pharmacogenomic research supporting drug development across the pipeline, with a particular focus on the neuroscience and infectious diseases therapy areas. While at GSK, he contributed important pharmacogenetic data to support the regulatory approval of two medicines; dolutegravir for HIV infection and tafenoquine for Plasmodium vivax malaria.
In 2015, he returned to Australia to take up a joint appointment in human genetics at The University of Melbourne and Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. Since returning to academia, he has created a research program in single genomics, which includes multiple sclerosis and motor neuron disease. For this work, he has thus attracted over $0.5 M in philanthropic funding and a similar amount from research collaborations with industry. As Chair of the ANZgene MS Gene