Our People

Fabienne Mackay

Director and CEO

Professor Fabienne Mackay studied Medicine and Biomedical Engineering before obtaining her PhD in Molecular Biology and Immunology from Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France.

Professor Mackay started her research career in the biotech industry at Biogen Inc. in Boston. In 1999, she joined the Garvan Institute in Sydney as Director of the Autoimmunity Research Unit. In 2009, she was recruited as Head of the Department of Immunology at Monash University.

In 2015, Professor Mackay 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. Her laboratory discovered the role of an important protein, known as BAFF, in health and autoimmune diseases. These findings provided the foundation for the development of a new therapy, belimumab (BenlystaTM), for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the first new treatment for SLE in over 50 years.

Professor Mackay has published over 170 articles cited 17,000 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.

In 2020, Professor Fabienne Mackay became the eighth Director and CEO of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.