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Professor Brendan Crabb AC

Director and CEO; Co-Head, Malaria Virulence and Drug Discovery Group; Chair Australian Global Health Alliance and Chair Pacific Friends of Global Health
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Professor Brendan Crabb AC PhD FAA FAHMS FASM is an infectious disease researcher with a special interest in malaria. His research group develops and exploits genetic approaches to better understand malaria parasite biology, principally to help prioritise vaccine and drug targets.

Although a molecular scientist by training, Professor Crabb’s interests include addressing technical and non-technical barriers to maternal, newborn and child health in the developing world. In recent years, under the banner of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, he helped establish a major research field site in East New Britain in Papua New Guinea, principally to identify the underlying drivers (including malaria) of low birth weight and stunting in relatively calorie-rich, yet resource-poor settings.

Since 2008 he has been the Director and CEO of the Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health (Burnet Institute), a research institute that has a focus on infectious diseases and maternal and child health, especially for populations most in need. Burnet has played a major role in the COVID-19 pandemic, including advising governments and advocating strongly for public health action.

Professor Crabb is President of both the Australian Global Health Alliance and the Pacific Friends of Global Health, bodies that advocate for better health equity. He is the past-President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), the peak body for independent medical research Institutes in Australia. Professor Crabb has played critical roles in transformative government policy and funding initiatives, including in the generation of the $20b Medical Research Future Fund.

He is currently a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS) and of the Australian Society for Microbiology (FASM). He served on the governing Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia from 2016 - 2021. Internationally, he currently serves on the International Advisory Boards of the Sanger Institute (UK) and on the WHO Malaria Vaccine Advisory Committee (MALVAC) in Geneva. Professor Crabb was the Co-Founder of the 1st Malaria World Congress and of the Molecular Approaches to Malaria Conferences.

Prior to 2008, Professor Crabb was a Senior Principal Research Fellow in the NHMRC and an International Fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US. He is an experienced educator having been a full-time teaching and research academic at the University of Melbourne (1996-2000) and has been immersed in education at secondary and tertiary levels ever since.

In 2015, he was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia, Australia’s highest civilian honour, in 2019 he received the GSK Award for Research Excellence and in 2020 he was awarded the Global Citizen Prize: Australia’s Hero Award.

  • 1992: PhD, (Virology) School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne,Victoria, Australia
  • 1988: BSc, (Hons) Department of Microbiology, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 1987: BSc, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 2016: Advanced Management Program (4 weeks), Columbia University, USA
  • Director and Chief Executive Officer, Burnet Institute, from 2008-ongoing
  • Chair, Sectional Committee 9 Molecular and Cell Biology and Human Genetics, Australian Academy of Science, from 2023
  • Member, Brain Cancer Centre Research Advisory Committee, from 2022
  • Board Member, Telethon Kids Institute, from 2022
  • Member, Medical Journal of Australia’s Editorial Advisory Committee, from 2021
  • Member, mRNAVictoria Scientific Advisory Group, from 2021
  • Member, Victorian Aboriginal Research Accord Reference Group, from 2021
  • Member, SPARK/SPECTRUM Expert Reference Group, from 2021
  • Chair of the Australian Global Health Alliance, from 2020
  • Member, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences COVID-19 Expert Committee, from 2020
  • Chair, Pacific Friends of Global Health, from 2020
  • Member, Victorian Government Medical Research Strategic Advisory Committee, from 2019
  • Foundation Committee Member, Global Health Alliance Melbourne, from 2019
  • Member, WHO Malaria Vaccine Advisory Committee (MALVAC), from 2018
  • Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK, from 2016
  • Inaugural Fellow, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS), from 2014
  • Member, Victorian Chapter, Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes, from 2014
  • Club Melbourne Ambassador, from 2014
  • Member, Alfred Medical Research & Education Precinct Council (Chair 2013-16), from 2013
  • Director, Board of AMREP Animal Services Pty Ltd, Victoria, from 2010
  • Adjunct Professor, Monash University, from 2010
  • Adjunct Professor, The University of Melbourne, from 2008
  • Member, Board of the Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC), Victoria, from 2001
Reports + Policy Briefs

2020 (1)

  • The most promising vaccines for COVID-19. (Updated 17.6.2020) Cunningham A, Chappell K, Copolov D, Crabb B, Cuthbertson A, Doherty P, Drummer H, Foley C, Godfrey D, Halton J, Kelleher A , Majumdar S, McDonald C, Munro T, Purcell D, Young P. Rapid Research Information Forum - Australian Academy of Sciences. May, 2020.