Professor and Unit Head
Professor Magdalena Plebanski (BScHon, MA, MBA, PhD) is a Senior Research Fellow (NHMRC Australia) and leads the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Unit at the Department of Immunology and Pathology, Monash University, Australia. She is also the inaugural co-Head of the Immunotherapy and Regenerative Medicine Division at the newly established Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME). Amongst many awards, she has been recipient of the prestigious International Howard Hughes Fellow Award. She arrived in Australia mid-1999 after a high impact postdoctoral career at Oxford University, United Kingdom, producing field changing findings on vaccines and immune evasion mechanisms that can interfere with vaccine efficacy, including: Lancet, 1995; Nature Biotechnology 1997; Science 1998; Immunity 1999; Nature Medicine 1999; Nature 1999. Since her arrival in Australia she continued to successfully merge technological innovation with translational science (e.g. Nature Medicine, 2004; Plos Pathogens 2009a, 2009b, 2009c; Clin. Cancer Res., 2013; Nature Communications, 2013; Nature Communications, 2015). She is regularly invited as keynote and plenary speaker at international conferences. Her 5 families of PCT patents have progressed to commercialisation nationally and internationally, and she has been Director in two successfully commercialised biotechnology companies.
Prof. Plebanski’s current primary interest is to develop practical and affordable vaccines against complex diseases, specifically malaria and cancer (ovarian cancer and leukemias), and to this end she pioneered the use of synthetic size-defined non-inflammatory nanoparticles. Her nanoparticle studies recently also opened to door to new nanotechnology applications to prevent allergic airways disease and asthma (J. Immunol., 2012, 2013). She has >120 peer-reviewed publications (plus books and abstracts). Her current interests also include the study of the interaction of different types of nanoparticles and biomaterials with key antigen presenting cells of the immune system (dendritic cells, macrophages, MDSC, B cells) and she collaborates extensively with chemical engineers and chemists.