Professor James Beeson

Head of Centre for Biomedical Research; Head of Malaria Research: Immunity, Vaccines and New Therapies Laboratory, Principal for Maternal and Child Health; Adjunct Professor Monash University


An ARC and NHMRC research fellow, and a public health physician, Professor Beeson completed his medical degree at Monash University in 1992.

Based at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, with field work at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Program, Malawi his thesis titled ‘Mechanisms of placental infection by Plasmodium falciparum,’ commenced in February 1997 and passed in January 2001 through the University of Melbourne.

Following postgraduate specialty training as a public health physician in 2001, he headed a research group at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute from 2004-2010. In January 2011 he joined the Burnet Institute.

Professor Beeson has worked in malaria research in Africa and Asia for 15 years, including Malawi, Kenya, Papua New Guinea and Thailand.

His research group primarily focuses on understanding how malaria causes disease in people and how immunity to malaria develops, and on the development of interventions to reduce malaria, such as vaccines or public health programs. Their research currently involves clinical and population studies in Papua New Guinea, Africa and Asia.

With a particular interest in the affects of malaria in pregnancy, and maternal health more broadly, Professor Beeson completed his PhD thesis on malaria in pregnancy, which included studies in Malawi, Central Africa.

This work has highlighted the challenge of improving maternal health in resource-poor countries with a high burden of disease, emphasising the need for programs and interventions that address multiple causes of poor maternal health rather than specific diseases in isolation.


  • 2014: Head, Centre for Biomedical Research, Burnet Institute
  • 2013: Co-Head, Centre for Biomedical Research, Burnet Institute
  • 2012: Adjunct Professor to the Department of Microbiology, Monash University
  • 2011: Head, Centre for Immunology, Burnet Institute
  • 2011: Principal, Maternal and Child Health, Burnet Institute
  • 2011: Head, Beeson Laboratory, Burnet Institute


  • 2001: PhD, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 1992: MB BS (Hon) Monash University, Australia
  • 1990: B.Med.Sc. (Hon) Monash University, Australia

Professional Affiliations

  • 2001: Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, (Public Health Physician)
  • 1998-2001: Advanced Fellowship Training Program. Admitted as a Fellow of the Faculty, April 2001.
  • 1992: Registered Medical Practitioner, Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria
  • Member of the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases
  • Member of the Australian Society for Parasitology
  • Member of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene


  • 2007: Cosmos Science Magazine Bright Sparks Award (A listing of 10 leading Australian researchers under 40)
  • 2006: Burnet Prize, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
  • 2002: Chancellors Prize for most outstanding PhD thesis, University of Melbourne,
  • 2001: Premier’s Award for Medical Research, State Government of Victoria, Australia

Projects (7)

  • Clinical studies on malaria
    The focus is to understand the negative consequences of malaria and how they can be prevented malaria in children and pregnant women.
  • Functional anitbody responses to malaria vaccine candidates
    Understanding how functional immunity develops to potential malaria vaccine candidates.
  • Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies
    A five-year research program aimed at providing life-saving health care for women and children in Papua New Guinea.
  • Immunity to malaria in humans
    To identify the key targets of immunity, understand the mechanisms mediating immunity, and determine how immunity is acquired and maintained.
  • Mechanisms of infection of red blood cells
    During blood-stage replication of Plasmodium, the merozoite form of the parasite (the form of the malaria parasite that invades red blood cells) infects red blood cells and develops and replicates inside them.
  • New treatments for malaria
    In response to the need for new anti-malarial drugs to combat drug resistance, identifying and developing novel compounds that inhibit replication of Plasmodium parasites is required.Full details to follow
  • Vaccines against malaria
    This involves identifying and prioritising candidate antigens for vaccine development.

Publications (108)

2014 (13)

2013 (12)

2012 (11)

2011 (9)

2010 (12)

2009 (7)

2008 (10)

2007 (6)

2006 (3)

2005 (5)

2004 (6)

2002 (4)

2001 (4)

2000 (3)

1999 (3)


Contact Details