Michelle completed her PhD in at the University of Melbourne in 2012, and received the Victorian Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research, Commended Award (2013).
From 2013-2015, she was an NHMRC CJ Martin Early Career Fellow at University of California, San Francisco.
Returning to Australia, Michelle developed an independent program focused on cellular mechanisms driving human immunity to malaria. She was awarded the AIPS Young Tall Poppy Science Award (2016) and was recruited to QIMR-Berghofer in 2018 as an EMBL-Australia Group Leader.
In 2023, Michelle’s team joined the Burnet Institute, where she is a CSL Centenary Fellow.
Michelle’s research aims to develop vaccines and therapeutics for malaria through novel insights in human immunity. Michelle has made fundamental discoveries of specific types and functions of antibodies that protect from malaria, and the CD4 T cells that drive protective responses.
To translate her findings, Michelle is currently leading a human malaria infection clinical trial to investigate if host directed therapy can boost immune development. This approach has broad implications for other chronic infections where protective immune development is compromised. She also collaborates with disease specific experts including those in Group A Streptococcus and Hepatitis C to extend her research findings to other pathogens.
View publications >
- Mapping germinal centres during human malaria infection
- Developing germinal centre organoids to dissect malaria antibody development
- Investigate the impact of Type I IFN signalling blockade as host directed therapy in a Phase1 malaria infection trial
- Quantifying the impact of host age on malaria immune development
- 2023-2027: CSL Centenary Fellowship
- 2023-ongoing: Honorary Appointment at Monash University
- 2023-present: Head, Cellular Responses to Disease and Vaccination, Burnet Institute
- 2023-present: CSL Centenary Fellow, Burnet Institute
- 2023-present: Group Leader, EMBL Australia
- 2019-2020: Parental leave
- 2018-2022: Team Head/EMBL Australia Group Leader, QIMR-Berghofer Medical Research Institute
- 2017: Senior Research Officer, Burnet Institute
- 2016-2017: Parental leave
- 2015-2017: Honorary Fellow, Menzies School for Health Research
- 2015-2016: Research Officer, Burnet Institute
- 2013-2015: Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California San Francisco, USA
- 2012: Research Officer, Burnet Institute,
- 2008: Research Assistant, University of Malaysia, Sarawak
- 2008: Research Assistant, Walter + Eliza Hall Institute, Infection and Immunity
- 2005 –2006: Undergraduate Researcher Program, Walter + Eliza Hall Institute, Infection and Immunity
- 2009-2012: PhD (Awarded 10 July 2012), Burnet Institute, Walter & Eliza Hall Institute, The University of Melbourne. Supervisor: Dr James Beeson, Division of Infection and Immunity
- 2002-2007: Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science, Honours (2007), The University of Melbourne. Majors: Microbiology, Indonesian Language/Asian Studies
- 2023: Snow Medical Research Foundation Fellowship
- 2020: Margaret Baird Women in Immunology Lectureship Award, Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology
- 2017: Charles Darwin University, Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Exceptional Performance in Research, Menzies Malaria team member
- 2017: CASS Travel Award ($4 000 AUD declined for family commitments)
- 2016: AMREP Biomedical Research Early-Career Researcher Best Paper Award ($500 AUD)
- 2016: AIPS Young Tall Poppy Science Award, NT ($1000 AUD)
- 2016: AMREP Research Prize for Basic Research ($1000 AUD)
- 2016: Molecular Approaches to Malaria, International conference, Lorne, Best poster presentation prize
- 2016: IFReC Winter School participant (competitive international early career research training)
- 2015: National Association of Research Fellows Postdoctoral Investigator Award ($1 500 AUD)
- 2013: Premiers Award for Health and Medical Research – Commended Award ($8 000 AUD)
- 2012: BioMalPar conference, Heidelberg, Germany, Student presentation prize
- 2011: Malaria in Melbourne Conference, Student presentation prize
- 2011: Harold Mitchell Foundation Postgraduate Travel Award ($3 000 AUD)
- 2011: Miller Foundation Biomedical Research Travel Award ($1 500 AUD)
- 2010: Young Investigator Award, American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Atlanta USA (largest international conference in my field)
- 2010: Victoria Infection and Immunity Student Symposium Poster Presentation prize
- 2009: Malaria in Melbourne Conference, Student presentation prize
- 2009: Victoria Infection and Immunity, Student presentation prize
News Articles (1)