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QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has a long and prestigious history spanning 70 years.

QIMR Berghofer, previously known as the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), was the brainchild of Dr Edward Derrick, an early Director of the Queensland State Health Department Laboratory of Microbiology and Pathology. His pioneering research from 1935 onwards into Q fever led to the discovery of the causative rickettsia, Coxiella burnetii.

Derrick's work on Q fever, scrub typhus and leptospirosis made him aware of the need for an institute devoted to full-time research into infectious diseases of northern Australia. It was largely through Derrick's persistence that the Queensland Institute of Medical Research Act was passed by the Queensland Government in 1945.

The first Director of QIMR Berghofer was Dr Ian Mackerras, an entomologist, who during World War II was responsible (with others) for much of the malaria control work of the Australian Army. The complementary aims, interests and expertise of Mackerras and then Derrick (who succeeded Mackerras as Director in 1961) were to mould the research direction and impact of QIMR Berghofer for the next 30 years, when it occupied the temporary buildings (previously the US Armed Forces huts) in Victoria Park, opposite what was then the Brisbane General Hospital.

The Institute has grown steadily to embrace cancer research and clinical sciences with over 600 scientists and support staff. It is now housed the Bancroft Centre (named after Joseph Bancroft who established medical research in Queensland and Australia in 1867) (built in 1990), the Clive Berghofer Cancer Research Centre (built in 2001) and QIMR Berghofer Central (opened in late 2012).

In August 2013, QIMR was renamed QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute after a generous donation of $50.1 million from Mr Clive Berghofer AM, a Toowoomba-based philanthropist. He had given a previous donation towards the naming of the Clive Berghofer Cancer Research Centre a decade before.


  • 1947–1961: Dr Ian Murray Mackerras 
  • 1961–1966: Dr Edward Derrick 
  • 1966–1978: Professor Ralph Doherty 
  • 1978–1990: Professor Chev Kidson 
  • 1990–2000: Professor Lawrie Powell 
  • 2000–2010: Professor Michael Good 
  • 2011–present: Professor Frank Gannon