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.
Director and CEO, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Honorary Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland.
Honorary Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne
Member of the QIMR Berghofer Council, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University.
Head, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville Campus, Victoria, Australia.
Head, Department of Pathology, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia
Head and Chair, Department of Immunology, Monash University, Central Clinical School Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Responsible for undergraduate and post-graduate Immunology education of BSc, BMS and MBBS students.
Deputy Head of the Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Director of the Autoimmunity Research Unit, The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia
Principal Research Fellow, Arthritis and Inflammation Research Program, The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia
Scientist and BAFF Project leader, BIOGENIDEC Inc. Cambridge, MA, USA
PhD Student, Hoffman La Roche Basel Switzerland and the Faculty of Medicine, University Louis Pasteur of Strasbourg, France
Associate Scientist, Basel Institute for Immunology, Switzerland
Basic Immunology: we are looking at the role of CXCR7 in B cell biology and function in health and diseases.
Autoimmunity: our work looks at the role of immune depletion followed by diet intervention to reset a balanced immune system away from infalmmation in patients with lupus.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL): We are developing a new class of immune checkpoint inhibitor to treat CLL while preserving the immune system of patients. We are also looking at diet intervention to modify the metabolic profile of leukemic cells and prevent cancer progression.
Deciphered the role of the two receptors for TNF, TNFR1 and TNR2 in cellular adhesion.
Discovered the role of lymphotoxin-alpha/beta in maintaining follicular dendritic cells networks in germinal centres and the role of this system in cancer and in inflammatory bowel disease.
Discovered the role of the chemokine receptor CXCR7 in cardiac development and published data on the first CXCR7-deficient mouse model.
Discovered the role of the cytokine BAFF in the survival of transitional immature B cells.
First discovered the role of BAFF in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), work that provided the foundations for the development of anti-BAFF therapeutic antibodies, approved in the clinic in 2011, as the first new treatment for lupus in over 50 years.
Discovered a new immune checkpoint in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and new immune-suppression mechanisms.
Established a new stratification of patients with SLE using advanced machine learning approaches.
Council member, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences
Member of the Medical Advisory Board for the prestigious Gairdner Foundation, Canada
Member of the Board Review Editors (BORE) for Science (1 or 3 Australians)
Award committee member, the International Cytokine & Interferon Society
Co-Chair of the Biomedical Research Group QLD
Board Director, Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners
Member of the Herston Precinct Group
Member of the Genomics Executive Working Group QLD
Member of the QIMR Berghofer Council
Board Director, ENA Therapeutic Ltd
Vincent Fairfax Fellowship (Ethical Leadership)
Martin Lackmann Award for Translational Research, Cell Signaling and its Therapeutic Implications CSTI, Monash University
Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences
Certificate for Highly Cited Research in the Cytokine and Growth Factor Reviews
Trophy for exceptional contribution in education and research as a French expatriate, awarded at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris
Awarded NHMRC Best Research Project
Awarded the Thomson Reuters Australia Citation and Innovation Award
Awarded NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship, 5 years
Awarded NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship, 5 years
Senior Non-Clinical MRC Fellowship, 5 years, 1 of 5 awards in the UK in 2004, (Declined, February 2005)
Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow award 5 years
National Medal of Technology, awarded by Senator Edward Kennedy, Boston MA USA
Ph.D. in Immunology and Cell Biology Université Louis Pasteur, France with congratulations from the jury.
Biological Engineering Diploma and Masters, Centre Universitaire de Sciences et Techniques (French Elite School, 25 selected students per year nationwide), France, ranked #1 for the cohort.
D.E.A. de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (Equivalent to Honours, the 6th year in France) in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Université de Clermont II), France.
Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie (D.U.T., University Technology Diploma) Biological Technology. I.U.T. France. Ranked in the top 3 students
PCEM-1, Medical School of Clermont-Ferrand, France
Baccalauréat D, Lycée de jeunes filles de Moulins, France