Professor Brendan Crabb AC PhD 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 has established 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 Professor Crabb has steered to have a focus entirely on the health of neglected populations. 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 Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS) and of the Australian Society for Microbiology (FASM), serves on the governing Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia.
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. In his home state of Victoria, is President of the Victorian Chapter of AAMRI.
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, 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.
- Director and Chief Executive Officer, Burnet Institute, 2008-ongoing
- Member, Board, Institute for Health Transformation
- Member, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences COVID-19 Expert Committee
- Member, National COVID-19 Health and Research Advisory Committee
- Chair, Pacific Friends of Global Health
- Member, Victorian Government Medical Research Strategic Advisory Committee
- Foundation Committee Member, Global Health Alliance Melbourne
- Member, National Health and Medical Research Council
- Member, Victorian Medical Research Strategic Advisory Committee
- Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Centre for Cancer Biology, UniSA and SA Pathology from 2015.
- Chair, Victorian Chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) from 2014.
- President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), 2012-2014.
- Member, Alfred Medical Research & Education Precinct Council from 2013.
- Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) from 2012.
- Member, PATH/Malaria Vaccine Initiative Vaccine Science Portfolio Advisory Council, USA from 2008
- Professor (Adjunct), University of Melbourne and Monash University.
- Board Member, AMREP AS Pty Ltd
- Board of Management, Gene Technology Access Centre.
- Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Malaria Program, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK
- 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
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies
Host red blood cell modification sustains the virulence of malaria parasites
- Characterisation of complexes formed by parasite proteins exported into the host cell compartment of Plasmodium falciparum infected red blood cells.
Jonsdottir TK, Counihan NA, Modak JK, Kouskousis B, Sanders PR, Gabriela M, Bullen HE, Crabb BS, de Koning-Ward TF, Gilson PR
Cell Microbiol. 2021 Mar; Epub ahead of print:e13332
- Risk factors and knowledge associated with high unintended pregnancy rates and low family planning use among pregnant women in Papua New Guinea.
Peach E, Morgan C, Scoullar MJL, Fowkes FJI, Kennedy E, Melepia P, Homiehombo P, Au L, Luchters S, Umbers AJ, Vallely A, Vallely LM, Kelly-Hanku A, Robinson LJ, Crabb BS, Elijah A, Siba PM, Pomat W, Beeson JG
Sci Rep. 2021 Jan; 11(1):1222
- A strategic framework to ease community-wide Covid-19 suppression measures.
Coghlan B, Majumdar SS, Pedrana A, Hellard ME, Crabb BS
MJA. 2021 Jan; Epub ahead of print
- Building momentum for malaria vaccine research and development: key considerations.
Chitnis CE, Schellenberg D, Vekemans J, Asturias EJ, Bejon P, Collins KA, Crabb BS, Herrera S, Laufer M, Rabinovich NR, Roestenberg M, Shearley A, Tinto H, Wentworth M, O'Brien K, Alonso P
Malar J. 2020 Nov; 19(1):421
- Impact of Victoria's Stage 3 lockdown on COVID-19 case numbers
Saul A, Scott N, Crabb BS, Majumdar SS, Coghlan B, Hellard ME
MJA. 2020 Nov; 213(11):494-496
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of topical repellent distributed by village health volunteer networks against Plasmodium spp. infection in Myanmar: A stepped-wedge cluster randomised trial.
Agius PA, Cutts JC, Oo WH, Thi A, O'Flaherty K, Aung KZ, Thu HK, Aung PP, Thein MM, Zaw NN, Htay WYM, Soe AP, Razook Z, Barry AE, Htike W, Devine A, Simpson JA, Crabb BS, Beeson JG, Pasricha N, Fowkes FJI
PLoS Med. 2020 Aug; 17(8):e1003177
- The most promising treatments for COVID-19 (Updated 6th July 2020)
Lewin S, Copolov D, Crabb B, Cuthbertson A, Doherty P, Hoy W, Kelleher A, Majumdar S, Tachedjian G
Rapid Res Infor Forum. 2020 May
- 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 Res Infor Forum. 2020 May
- Screening the Medicines for Malaria Venture Pathogen Box for invasion and egress inhibitors of the blood stage of Plasmodium falciparum reveals several inhibitory compounds.
Dans MG, Weiss GE, Wilson DW, Sleebs BE, Crabb BS, de Koning-Ward TF, Gilson PR
Int J Parasitol. 2020 Mar; 50(3):235-252
- A 4-cyano-3-methylisoquinoline inhibitor of Plasmodium falciparum growth targets the sodium efflux pump PfATP4.
Gilson PR, Kumarasingha R, Thompson J, Zhang X, Penington JS, Kalhor R, Bullen HE, Lehane AM, Dans MG, de Koning-Ward TF, Holien JK, Soares da Costa TP, Hulett MD, Buskes MJ, Crabb BS, Kirk K, Papenfuss AT, Cowman AF, Abbott BM
Sci Rep. 2019 Jul; 9(1):10292
- Human Antibodies that Slow Erythrocyte Invasion Potentiate Malaria-Neutralizing Antibodies
Alanine DGW, Quinkert D, Kumarasingha R, Mehmood S, Donnellan DR, Minkah NK, Dadonaite B, Diouf A, Galaway F, Silk SE, Jamwal A, Marshall JM, Miura K, Foquet L, Elias SC, ve M. Labbe´ G , Douglas AD, Jin J, Payne RO, Illingworth JJ, 1 David J. Pattinson DJ, Pulido D, Williams BG, de Jongh WA, Wright GJ, Kappe SHI, Robinson CV, Long CA, Crabb BS Gilson PR, Higgins MK, Draper SJ
Cell. 2019 Jun; 178(1):216-228
- The N-terminus of EXP2 forms the membrane-associated pore of the protein exporting translocon PTEX in Plasmodium falciparum.
Sanders PR, Dickerman BK, Charnaud SC, Ramsland PA, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
J Biochem. 2019 Mar; 165(3):239-248
- Evaluation of 4-amino 2-anilinoquinazolines against Plasmodium and other apicomplexan parasites in vitro and in a P. falciparum humanized NOD-scid IL2Rgamma(null) mouse model of malaria.
Gilson PR, Nguyen W, Poole WA, Teixeira JE, Thompson JK, Guo K, Stewart RJ, Ashton TD, White KL, Sanz LM, Gamo FJ, Charman SA, Wittlin S, Duffy J, Tonkin CJ, Tham WH, Crabb BS, Cooke BM, Huston CD, Cowman AF, Sleebs BE
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2019 Feb; 63(3):e01804-18
- Effectiveness of repellent delivered through village health volunteers on malaria incidence in villages in South-East Myanmar: a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised controlled trial protocol.
Win Han Oo, Cutts JC, Agius PA, Kyaw Zayar Aung, Poe Poe Aung, Aung Thi, Nyi Nyi Zaw, Htin Kyaw Thu, Wai Yan Min Htay, Ataide R, O'Flaherty K, Ai Pao Yawn, Aung Paing Soe, Beeson JG, Crabb B, Pasricha N, Fowkes FJI
BMC Infect Dis. 2018 Dec; 18(1):663
- Knockdown of the translocon protein EXP2 in Plasmodium falciparum reduces growth and protein export.
Charnaud SC, Kumarasingha R, Bullen HE, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
PLoS One. 2018 Nov; 13(11):e0204785
- Plasmepsin V cleaves malaria effector proteins in a distinct endoplasmic reticulum translocation interactome for export to the erythrocyte.
Marapana DS, Dagley LF, Sandow JJ, Nebl T, Triglia T, Pasternak M, Dickerman BK, Crabb BS, Gilson PR, Webb AI, Boddey JA, Cowman AF
Nat Microbiol. 2018 Aug; 3(9):1010-1022
- Spatial organisation of protein export in malaria parasite blood stages.
Charnaud SC, Jonsdottir TK, Sanders PR, Bullen HE, Dickerman BK, Kouskousis B, Palmer CS, Pietrzak HM, Laumaea AE, Erazo AB, McHugh E, Tilley L, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
Traffic. 2018 Apr; 19(8):605-623
- Development of a novel CD4+ TCR transgenic line that reveals a dominant role for CD8+ dendritic cells and CD40 signaling in the generation of helper and CTL responses to blood-stage malaria.
Fernandez-Ruiz D, Lau LS, Ghazanfari N, Jones CM, Ng WY, Davey GM, Berthold D, Holz L, Kato Y, Enders MH, Bayarsaikhan G, Hendriks SH, Lansink LIM, Engel JA, Soon MSF, James KR, Cozijnsen A, Mollard V, Uboldi AD, Tonkin CJ, de Koning-Ward TF, Gilson PR, Kaisho T, Haque A, Crabb BS, Carbone FR, McFadden GI, Heath WR
J Immunol. 2017 Oct; Epub ahead of print
- The exported chaperone Hsp70-x supports virulence functions for Plasmodium falciparum blood stage parasites.
Charnaud SC, Dixon MWA, Nie CQ, Chappell L, Sanders PR, Nebl T, Hanssen E, Berriman M, Chan JA, Blanch AJ, Beeson JG, Rayner JC, Przyborski JM, Tilley L, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
PLoS One. 2017 Jul; 12(7):e0181656
- Differing rates of antibody acquisition to merozoite antigens in malaria: implications for immunity and surveillance.
McCallum FJ, Persson KM, Fowkes FJ, Reiling L, Mugyenyi CK, Richards JS, Simpson JA, Williams TN, Gilson PR, Hodder AN, Sanders PR, Anders RF, Narum DL, Chitnis C, Crabb BS, Marsh K, Beeson JG.
J Leukoc Biol. 2017 Apr; 101(4):913-925
- Plasmodium falciparum parasites deploy RhopH2 into the host erythrocyte to obtain nutrients, grow and replicate.
Counihan N, Chisholm SA, Bullen HE, Srivastava A, Sanders PR, Jonsdottir TK, Weiss GE, Ghosh S, Crabb BS, Creek DJ, Gilson PR, de Koning-Ward TF
eLife. 2017 Mar; 6(pii):e23217
- Host cell remodeling in malaria parasites: a new pool of potential drug targets.
Gilson PR, Chisholm SA, Crabb BS, de Koning-Ward TF
Int J Parasitol. 2017 Feb; 47(2-3):119-127
- Optimization of 2-anilino 4-amino substituted quinazolines into potent antimalarial agents with oral in vivo activity.
Gilson PR, Tan C, Jarman KE, Lowes KN, Curtis JM, Nguyen W, Di Rago AE, Bullen HE, Prinz B, Duffy S, Baell JB, Hutton CA, Jousset Sabroux H, Crabb BS, Avery VM, Cowman AF, Sleebs BE
J Med Chem. 2017 Jan; 60(3):1171-1188
- Disrupting the allosteric interaction between the Plasmodium falciparum cAMP-dependent kinase and its regulatory subunit.
Littler DR, Bullen HE, Harvey KL, Beddoe T, Crabb BS, Rossjohn J, Gilson PR
J Biol Chem. 2016 Dec; 291(49):25375-25386
- Molecular genetic approaches to malaria research. (Book Chapter)
Elsworth B, Azevedo MF, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
in Advances in Malaria Research (Eds. Gaur D, Chitnis CE and Chauhan VS) Wiley Blackwell. 2016 Dec
- Identification of inhibitors that dually target the new permeability pathway and dihydroorotate dehydrogenase in the blood stage of Plasmodium falciparum.
Dickerman BK, Elsworth B, Cobbold SA, Nie CQ, McConville MJ, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
Sci Rep. 2016 Nov; 6:37502
- Trafficking of the exported P. falciparum chaperone PfHsp70x.
Rhiel M, Bittl V, Tribensky A, Charnaud SC, Strecker M, Müller S, Lanzer M, Sanchez C, Schaeffer-Reiss C, Westermann B, Crabb BS, Gilson PR, Külzer S, Przyborski JM
Sci Rep. 2016 Nov; 6:36174
- Liver-Resident Memory CD8+ T Cells Form a Front-Line Defense against Malaria Liver-Stage Infection.
Fernandez-Ruiz D, Ng WY, Holz LE, Ma JZ, Zaid A, Wong YC, Lau LS, Mollard V, Cozijnsen A, Collins N, Li J, Davey GM, Kato Y, Devi S, Skandari R, Pauley M, Manton JH, Godfrey DI, Braun A, Tay SS, Tan PS, Bowen DG, Koch-Nolte F, Rissiek B, Carbone FR, Crabb BS, Lahoud M, Cockburn IA, Mueller SN, Bertolino P, McFadden GI, Caminschi I, Heath WR
Immunity. 2016 Oct; 45(4):889-902
- Hierarchical phosphorylation of apical membrane antigen 1 is required for efficient red blood cell invasion by malaria parasites.
Prinz B, Harvey KL, Wilcke L, Ruch U, Engelberg K, Biller L, Lucet I, Erkelenz S, Heincke D, Spielmann T, Doerig C, Kunick C, Crabb BS, Gilson PR, Gilberger TW
Sci Rep. 2016 Oct; 6:34479
- Antimalarial activity of novel 4-cyano-3-methylisoquinoline inhibitors against Plasmodium falciparum: design, synthesis and biological evaluation.
Buskes MJ, Harvey KL, Richards BJ, Kalhor R, Christoff RM, Gardhi CK, Littler DR, Cope ED, Prinz B, Weiss GE, O'Brien NJ, Crabb BS, Deady LW, Gilson PR, Abbott BM
Org Biomol Chem. 2016 Apr; 14(20):4617-4639
- Exploration of 3-methylisoquinoline-4-carbonitriles as protein kinase A inhibitors of Plasmodium falciparum.
Buskes MJ, Harvey KL, Prinz B, Crabb BS, Gilson PR, Wilson DJ, Abbott BM
Bioorg Med Chem. 2016 Mar; 24(11):2389-2396
- Proteomic analysis reveals novel proteins associated with the Plasmodium protein exporter PTEX and a loss of complex stability upon truncation of the core PTEX component, PTEX150.
Elsworth B, Sanders PR, Nebl T, Batinovic S, Kalanon M, Nie CQ, Charnaud SC, Bullen HE, de Koning Ward TF, Tilley L, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
Cell Microbiol. 2016 Mar; 18(11):1551-1569
- Recruitment of Factor H as a Novel Complement Evasion Strategy for Blood-Stage Plasmodium falciparum Infection.
Kennedy AT, Schmidt CQ, Thompson JK, Weiss GE, Taechalertpaisarn T, Gilson PR, Barlow PN, Crabb BS, Cowman AF, Tham WH
J Immunol. 2016 Feb; 196(3):1239-1248
- Overlaying Molecular and Temporal Aspects of Malaria Parasite Invasion.
Weiss GE, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
Trends Parasitol. 2016 Jan; 32(4):284-295
- Contrasting Patterns of Serologic and Functional Antibody Dynamics to Plasmodium falciparum Antigens in a Kenyan Birth Cohort.
Dent AE, Malhotra I, Wang X, Babineau D, Yeo KT, Anderson T, Kimmel RJ, Angov E, Lanar DE, Narum D, Dutta S, Richards J, Beeson JG, Crabb BS, Cowman AF, Horii T, Muchiri E, Mungai PL, King CL, Kazura JW
Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2016 Jan; 23(2):104-116
- Macrolides rapidly inhibit red blood cell invasion by the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.
Wilson DW, Goodman CD, Sleebs BE, Weiss GE, de Jong NW, Angrisano F, Langer C, Baum J, Crabb BS, Gilson PR, McFadden GI, Beeson JG
BMC Biol. 2015 Jul; 13(1):52
- A Plasmodium Falciparum Bromodomain Protein Regulates Invasion Gene Expression.
Josling GA, Petter M, Oehring SC, Gupta AP, Dietz O, Wilson DW, Schubert T, Längst G, Gilson PR, Crabb BS, Moes S, Jenoe P, Lim SW, Brown GV, Bozdech Z, Voss TS, Duffy MF
Cell Host Microbe. 2015 Jun; 17(6):741-751
- Advances in molecular genetic systems in malaria.
de Koning-Ward TF, Gilson PR, Crabb BS
Nat Rev Microbiol. 2015 May; 13(6):373-387
- Research as altruism.
Swannell C, Crabb B
MJA. 2015 Apr; 202(4):63-64
- Why Australia needs a Medical Research Future Fund.
Cunningham AL, Anderson T, Bennett CC, Crabb BS, Goodier G, Hilton D, Koff E, Trapani J
Med J Aust. 2015 Feb; 202(3):123-124
- Identification of Potent Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors that Demonstrate Cyclic Nucleotide-Dependent Functions in Apicomplexan Parasites.
Howard BL, Harvey KL, Stewart R, Azevedo MF, Crabb BS, Jennings IG, Sanders PR, Manallack DT, Thompson PE, Tonkin CJ, Gilson PR
ACS Chem Biol. 2015 Jan; 10(4):1145-1154
- Plasmodium falciparum Transfected with Ultra Bright NanoLuc Luciferase Offers High Sensitivity Detection for the Screening of Growth and Cellular Trafficking Inhibitors.
Azevedo MF, Nie CQ, Elsworth B, Charnaud SC, Sanders PR, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
PLoS One. 2014 Nov; 9(11):e112571
- Insights and controversies into the role of the key Apicomplexan invasion ligand, Apical Membrane Antigen 1.
Harvey KL, Yap A, Gilson PR, Cowman AF, Crabb BS
Int J Parasitol. 2014 Aug; 44(12):853-857
- PTEX is an essential nexus for protein export in malaria parasites.
Elsworth B, Matthews K, Nie CQ, Kalanon M, Charnaud SC, Sanders PR, Chisholm SA, Counihan NA, Shaw PJ, Pino P, Chan J-A, Azevedo MF, Rogerson SJ, Beeson JG, Crabb BS, Gilson PR, de Koning-Ward TF
Nature. 2014 Jul; 511(7511):587-591
- CD8+ T Cells from a Novel T Cell Receptor Transgenic Mouse Induce Liver-Stage Immunity That Can Be Boosted by Blood-Stage Infection in Rodent Malaria.
Lau LS, Fernandez-Ruiz D, Mollard V, Sturm A, Neller MA, Cozijnsen A, Gregory JL, Davey GM, Jones CM, Lin YH, Haque A, Engwerda CR, Nie CQ, Hansen DS, Murphy KM, Papenfuss AT, Miles JJ, Burrows SR, de Koning-Ward T, McFadden GI, Carbone FR, Crabb BS, Heath WR
PLoS Pathog. 2014 May; 10(5):e1004135
- The role of parasite Heat Shock Proteins in protein trafficking and host cell remodeling. (Book Chapter)
Charnaud SC, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
in Heat Shock Proteins of Malaria (Eds Addmore Shonhai, Gregory L. Blatch). 2014 Mar; Chapter 6:99-118
- Conditional expression of apical membrane antigen 1 in Plasmodium falciparum shows it is required for erythrocyte invasion by merozoites.
Yap A, Azevedo MF, Gilson PR, Weiss GE, O Neill MT, Wilson DW, Crabb BS, Cowman AF
Cell Microbiol. 2014 Feb; 16(5):642-656
- Protein export in malaria parasites: an update.
Elsworth B, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
Cell Microbiol. 2014 Jan; 16(3):355-363
- The Plasmodium translocon of exported proteins (PTEX) component thioredoxin-2 is important for maintaining normal blood-stage growth.
Matthews K, Kalanon M, Chisholm SA, Sturm A, Goodman CD, Dixon MW, Sanders PR, Nebl T, Fraser F, Haase S, McFadden GI, Gilson PR, Crabb BS, de Koning-Ward TF
Mol Microbiol. 2013 Jul; 89(6):1167-1186
- Identification and prioritization of merozoite antigens as targets of protective human immunity to Plasmodium falciparum malaria for vaccine and biomarker development.
Richards JS, Arumugam TU, Reiling L, Healer J, Hodder AN, Fowkes FJ, Cross N, Langer C, Takeo S, Uboldi AD, Thompson JK, Gilson PR, Coppel RL, Siba PM, King CL, Torii M, Chitnis CE, Narum DL, Mueller I, Crabb BS, Cowman AF, Tsuboi T, Beeson JG
J Immunol. 2013 Jun; 191(2):795-809
- Inhibition of Plasmodium falciparum CDPK1 by conditional expression of its J-domain demonstrates a key role in schizont development.
Azevedo MF, Sanders PR, Krejany E, Nie CQ, Fu P, Bach LA, Wunderlich G, Crabb BS, Gilson PR
Biochem J. 2013 Apr; 452(3):433-441
- Host cell remodelling and protein trafficking.
Haase S, Bullen HE, Charnaud SC, Crabb BS, Gilson PR, de Koning-Ward TF
in Malaria Parasites: Comparative Genomics , Evolution and Molecular Biology Ed. Carlton JM, Perkins SL, Deitsch KW. 2013 Jan; pp:199-219
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