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AAS Fellowship for Professor Brendan Crabb

  • Burnet Institute
  • 25 May 2021

Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC is among 22 scientists acknowledged for their outstanding contributions to science with election as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS).

The Director and CEO of Burnet Institute since 2008, Professor Crabb is a past-President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), the peak body for independent medical research Institutes in Australia, and current Chair of the Victorian Chapter, VicAAMRI.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS) and of the Australian Society for Microbiology (FASM) and serves on the governing Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia.

“I feel a great sense of honour to be elected to The Australian Academy of Science,” Professor Crabb said.

“Just to be elected is wonderful and a privilege, but I’m even more excited by the opportunity to join a group of champions for science – a group that serve the community through communicating just how crucial science and its application has been, is now, and will be for the success of our society.

“To face our biggest challenges, and to take the biggest opportunities, Australia needs a deeply embedded science culture; and there is no greater torch bearer for this than the AAS."

An infectious disease researcher with a special interest in malaria, Professor Crabb’s research group develops and exploits genetic approaches to better understand malaria parasite biology, principally to help prioritise vaccine and drug targets.

In 2015, he was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia, Australia’s highest civilian honour, for contributions to better understanding infectious diseases and their impact on poor and vulnerable communities, and for fostering medical research as an advocate, mentor and administrator.

The 2021 AAS Fellows include:

  • Professor Hala Zreiqat, the inventor of 3D-printed bone substitutes
  • Professor Ian Reid, whose work on real-time robotic vision has applications in self-driving cars and robot-assisted construction, and
  • Professor Alison Rodger, whose techniques for understanding complex biological molecules using polarised light are now applied in pharmaceutical research and development around the world

Other new Fellows’ contributions include developing statistical theories to improve weather forecasting, growing ‘qubits’ which form the architecture of quantum computers, and revealing how plant cells communicate with each other about changes in their environment.

Australian Academy of Science President, Professor John Shine, congratulated the new Fellows for their achievements on the international stage.

“These researchers have not only been at the forefront of Australia’s scientific community, but have also been leaders in global science,” said Professor Shine.

“The 2021 Fellows were elected by their Academy peers after a rigorous evaluation. I warmly congratulate and welcome each Fellow on their election and for their extraordinary contribution to science and society.”

This year’s cohort is made up of 41 percent women and 59 percent men. Over the past five years, 35 percent of the Fellows elected have been women.  

The Academy’s new Fellows for 2021 are:


  • Professor Dorrit Jacob FAA – Geochemist, Australian National University
  • Professor Barry Pogson FAA – Plant biologist, Australian National University


  • Professor Catherine Lovelock FAA – Ecologist, University of Queensland
  • Professor Margaret Sheil AO FAA FTSE – Vice-Chancellor and President, Queensland University of Technology (Special Election)


  • Professor Ian Reid FAA FTSE – Computer vision researcher, University of Adelaide


  • Professor Barbara Nowak FAA – Fish health researcher, University of Tasmania


  • Professor Steven Chown FAA – Antarctic ecologist, Monash University
  • Professor Arthur Christopoulos FAA FAHMS – Molecular pharmacologist, Monash University
  • Professor Brendan Crabb AC FAA FAHMS – Microbiologist, Burnet Institute
  • Professor Mark Dawson FAA FAHMS – Cancer Biologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
  • Professor Robin Gasser FAA – Parasitologist, University of Melbourne
  • Professor Rob Hyndman FAA FASSA – Statistician (forecasting), Monash University
  • Professor John Sader FAA – Applied mathematician (nanoscale systems), University of Melbourne
  • Professor Gordon Smyth FAA – Statistician (genomics), Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
  • Professor Svetha Venkatesh FAA FTSE – Computer scientist (machine learning), Deakin University


  • Dr Gregory Clark AC FAA FTSE – Non-Executive Director, NextDC (Special Election)
  • Professor Susan Coppersmith FAA – Condensed matter physicist, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Yihong Du FAA – Mathematician (differential equations), University of New England
  • Professor Glenda Halliday FAA FAHMS – Neuroscientist, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Andrew Pitman AO FAA – Climatologist, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Alison Rodger FAA – Biochemist, Macquarie University
  • Professor Hala Zreiqat AM FAA FTSE FAHMS– Biomedical Engineer, University of Sydney

Find out more about AAS 2021 Fellows.