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Professor James Beeson

Deputy Director (People); Head, Malaria Immunity and Vaccines Group; Adjunct Professor, Monash University
Jamesbeeson 002 WEB Resized

James is a medical researcher and Public Health Physician (registered in Australia). He completed his medical degree at Monash University and subsequent Advanced Fellowship Training with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

After completing a PhD in 2001, he worked in the field of global health for over 20 years with a focus on infectious diseases and maternal and child health. His work includes research and public health activities in East and Central Africa, South East Asia and Papua New Guinea.

Currently, he leads Burnet’s Malaria Immunity and Vaccines Research Group and the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies program of research and implementation activities on maternal and child health in Papua New Guinea. His work is aligned with relevant global goals set by the World Health Organization and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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Current Funding

  • National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia (including Investigator Grant and Australian Centre for Research Excellence in Malaria Elimination)
  • National Institutes of Health, USA (including International Centers for Excellence in Malaria Research, and Malaria Vaccine Immunology and Efficacy Program)
  • Philanthropic foundations: Chrysalis Foundation, Gras Foundation, Naylor-Stewart Ancillary Fund
  • NHMRC Synergy Grant


Past Funding

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH, Wellcome Trust, CASS Foundation, Australian Research Council, Australian Government Australia-India Strategic Research Fund
  • Philanthropic Foundations: Community Grant of the Bank South Pacific Papua New Guinea, June Canavan Foundation Australia, Community Grant of Steamships Papua New Guinea, Finkel Foundation, Ian Potter Foundation
  • NHMRC Research Fellowship
  • NHMRC project grants

Academic and Professional Affiliations

  • 2017: Fellow, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences
  • 2001: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Melbourne, Melbourne. PhD Title – ‘Mechanisms of placental infection by Plasmodium falciparum’. Based at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), with research at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Program, Malawi
  • 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
  • 1990: Bachelor of Medical Science with Honours, Monash University, Melbourne
  • 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

Editorial Advisory Board Member

  • 2021: PLOS Pathogens
  • 2018: Science Translational Medicine
  • 2017: PLOS Medicine
  • 2014: BMC Medicine
  • 2014: Guest Editor, PLOS Pathogens
  • 2009-2015: Academic Editor PLoS One
  • 2006-: International Journal for Parasitology
  • 2023: Honorary Professor, University of Melbourne
  • 2017: Deputy Director, Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health (Burnet Institute), Melbourne
  • 2014: Program Director for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, Burnet Institute, Melbourne.
  • 2011: Head, Malaria Immunity and Vaccines Group, Burnet Institute, Melbourne.
  • 2011: Adjunct Professor, Department of Microbiology and Central Clinical School, Monash University
  • 2005: Senior Fellow, Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Melbourne
  • 2013-2016: Head, Centre for Biomedical Research, Burnet Institute, Melbourne (included all the institutes laboratory-based and biomedical research groups)
  • 2011-2012: Head, Centre for Immunology, Burnet Institute, Melbourne (The Centre for Immunology was an academic department of the Burnet Institute, comprised of 11 research groups and around 70 staff and students)
  • 2011-17: Principal for Maternal and Child Health, Burnet Institute, Melbourne
  • 2004-2010: Laboratory Head, WEHI, Melbourne
  • 2002-2004: NH&MRC Research Fellow, Medical Research Institute, Kilifi, Kenya and Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne
  • 2000-2002: Research Fellow, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne

Other professional roles:

  • 2017-2020: Fellow Selection Committee, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (Committee Chair 2019-20)
  • 2014-2017: Assigner’s Academy, National Health and Medical Research Council
  • 2017-2022: Member Gender Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee; Co-Lead for application to Athena Swan accreditation with Science Australia Gender Equity program
  • 2009-2015: Member of Advisory Council, Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne
  • 2009-2012: Member, Technical Advisory Committee for Malaria Vaccines, European Vaccine Initiative - Optimalvac
  • 2009-2010: Faculty Secretary, WEHI, Melbourne
  • 2015: NHMRC Research Excellence Award (for program grant, “Understanding malaria in the human host”)
  • 2015: Frank Fenner Award, Burnet Institute
  • 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

Education and Training Roles

  • Supervisor of PhD, Masters, and undergraduate research students (BSc and BBioMed Honours) for University of Melbourne (since 2001) and Monash University (since 2011)
  • Supervisor of Advanced Fellowship Trainees, Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • Supervision, training and mentoring of postdoctoral research scientist in global health