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Denise Doolan

James Cook University

Denise Doolan is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and Professorial Research Fellow in the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University. She is a molecular immunologist and is passionate about improving the health of the millions of people worldwide suffering from infectious and chronic diseases. Her research focuses on developing novel immunotherapeutics and immunodiagnostics for complex pathogens that cause chronic diseases, using malaria as a model. Core themes of her multidisciplinary research program include: (1) host-pathogen immunity, (2) antigen discovery, (3) vaccine engineering, and (4) biomarker discovery, using state-of-the-art genome-based technologies and human models of disease. Key outcomes are the identification of antigens, molecules and immune mechanisms that can be targeted for novel interventions against disease. A particular focus is systems immunology, which integrates immunology with cutting-edge omics-based technologies, bioinformatics and computational sciences. She has strong expertise in the process of vaccine development, spanning the complete pipeline from discovery to clinical testing. Her research agenda takes advantage of this expertise to translate basic research findings for practical application.

Denise received her PhD from the University of Queensland in 1993, working with Dr. Michael Good at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) and studying immunity to malaria. She then completed a National Academy of Sciences postdoctoral fellowship in the USA at the Naval Medical Research Center with Dr. Stephen Hoffman, working on malaria vaccine development. After appointments as Director of Basic and Preclinical Research & Development and then Scientific Director of the US Navy Malaria Program, she returned to Australia in 2007 to establish the QIMR Molecular Vaccinology Laboratory. In 2016 Professor Doolan relocated to the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University, Cairns, to further her research on infectious diseases.