Associate Professor David Anderson stepping down

Burnet Institute

03 November, 2022

Image: Burnet Institute Deputy Director (Partnerships), Associate Professor David Anderson

Burnet Institute Deputy Director (Partnerships), Associate Professor David Anderson, has announced his resignation after 36 years with the Institute, leaving an outstanding legacy of research in virology, viral hepatology, and point-of-care diagnostic tests.

The Institute’s longest-serving staff member and first-ever PhD student, Associate Professor Anderson was a pioneer in developing Burnet’s desire to translate our research to bring the products of research into the hands of those we seek to support.

Among his many achievements, Associate Professor Anderson, working especially with long-time Burnet colleague Professor Suzanne Crowe AO, helped to lead the development of an urgently-needed rapid point-of-care test for estimating CD4 T cell numbers in patients to improve the management of HIV/AIDS in resource-poor settings.

In 2020, the Visitect® CD4 Advanced Disease Test was included in the World Health Organization (WHO)’s list of prequalified in-vitro diagnosics enabling aid agencies to use the test to put more people onto HIV treatment sooner.

Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC said Associate Professor Anderson helped to create “something special” from the Institute’s very beginnings back in 1986.

“Since that time, David has helped shape the Institute’s vision, research focus and culture,” Professor Crabb said.

“The innovative thinking David brought to Burnet went beyond science and into the realm of creative entrepreneurialism.

“He worked to develop point-of-care tests for those in most need, working with industry, investors, and public health collaborators to manufacture, validate and implement those tests, and was well ahead of his time in this regard.

“This way of thinking is now a defining feature of the Institute’s work.”

Associate Professor Anderson’s other accomplishments include his role in the establishment of Burnet’s clinical trials support company 360Biolabs (in partnership with Innoviron) and serving on the Board.

Both roles have transformed the Burnet’s capacity to progress our mission.

At Executive and Board level, Associate Professor Anderson helped guide the Institute through some of its biggest issues in the past 30-plus years.

“I am personally grateful for his wise counsel and level-headedness at some of the Institute’s toughest times,” Professor Crabb said.

Associate Professor Anderson is leaving to pursue other interests, especially to focus on progressing a Nanjing-based diagnostic start-up opportunity, building on his collaborations and experiences from working in China for over a decade to help realise the potential health impact of point-of-care test innovations.

Associate Professor Anderson will be taking up an honorary position with Burnet after stepping down from his employment at the end of October.

Professor David Anderson’s achievements:

Associate Professor Anderson has had a longstanding interest in the application of research to practical and commercial processes. This is reflected in contract and collaborative research agreements with the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

In the early 2000s, a portfolio of technologies from his laboratory relating to the control of infectious diseases (diagnostics, vaccines and antivirals) was licensed to the start-up biotech company Select Vaccines Limited. Three commercial diagnostic products are now sold worldwide based on this technology.

While he was CEO of Nanjing BioPoint Diagnostics (a Burnet Institute spinoff), he spearheaded the R&D work on the development a prototype point-of-care test for alanine aminotransferase (ALT), an enzyme which can indicate liver disease or damage, to address this unmet need.

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Burnet Institute

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