Professor Brendan Crabb AC

Director and CEO; Co-Head Malaria Research Laboratory; Chair, Victorian Chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI)


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

Projects (3)

Current (2)

  • Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies

  • Host red blood cell modification sustains the virulence of malaria parasites

Publications (52)

2021 (3)

2020 (6)

2019 (4)

2018 (4)

2017 (6)

2016 (12)

2015 (6)

2014 (7)

2013 (4)

News Articles (256)

2022 (1)

2021 (16)

2020 (46)

2019 (13)

2018 (32)

2017 (14)

2016 (18)

2015 (34)

2014 (37)

2013 (31)

2012 (12)

2011 (2)