Professor Fabienne Mackay

Professor Fabienne Mackay

Professor Fabienne Mackay studied Medicine and Biomedical Engineering before she obtained her PhD in Molecular Biology and Immunology from Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France. She is the 8th Director and CEO of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Queensland. Prior to that, in 1994, she started her research career in the biotech industry at Biogen Inc. in Boston. She then arrived in Australia in 1999 when she joined the Garvan Institute in Sydney and became Director of the Autoimmunity Research Unit. In 2009, she was recruited as Head of the Department of Immunology at Monash University. In 2015, she became the inaugural Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences and Head of the Department of Pathology in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Her laboratory discovered the role of a very important factor, named BAFF, in health but also in autoimmune diseases, findings described in very highly cited articles and providing the knowledge foundation for the development of a novel therapy called belimumab (BenlystaTM), and now approved for the treatment of patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and the first new treatment for SLE in over 50 years. Professor Mackay’s group is focusing on inhibitors for the BAFF receptor TACI to treat Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) without compromising key immune function. She has published over 184 articles cited 18,500 times. Her h-index is 65. She has published the world’s most highly cited work on BAFF. Her landmark study on the role of BAFF in SLE has been cited 1025 times.

She received the Thomson Reuters Australia Citation and Innovation award and a trophy from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris for outstanding contribution in education and research as an expatriate. She also received the Martin Lackmann award for translational research and the William A. Paul Distinguished Innovator award from the Lupus Research Alliance (USA). She is an elected Council Member of the International Cytokine & Interferon Society, a member on the medical board of the Gairdner Foundation in Canada and an elected fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and now a member of Council for the Academy.