Professor Alan Baxter is a medical graduate who completed a PhD in immunogenetics at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute under the supervision of Tom Mandel. He has worked as a Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School and at Cambridge University, where he was a Supervisor in Pathology for Trinity College. He was president of the Australasian Society for Immunology from 2006-2008, a member of the Council of the Federation of Immunological Societies of Asia-Oceania 2012-2015, the Council of the International Union of Immunological Societies 2013-2017, and the MSRA Research Management Council since 2013. He established the Autoimmunity Research Group at the Centenary Institute, where he worked for nine years before taking up his current appointment as Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology and Director of the Comparative Genomics Centre of James Cook University. His work is funded by James Cook University,  the MSRA, Townsville Hospital and Health Service and the Queensland Department of Health.


He is known internationally for his contributions to the genetics of autoimmune disease and has published on the genetics of gastritis, lupus, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and the role of NKT cells in autoimmunity, and made major contributions to our understanding of gene/environment interactions in autoimmune disease.


  • BC3102: Molecular Basis of Disease (Level 3; TSV)
  • BC3202: Special Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Level 3; TSV)
  • BC5001: Advanced Readings in Molecular and Cell Biology (Level 5; TSV)
  • BC5002: Advanced Research in Molecular and Cell Biology 1 of 2 (Level 5; TSV)
  • BC5003: Advanced Research in Molecular and Cell Biology 2 of 2 (Level 5; TSV)
  • BC5102: Advanced Molecular Basis of Disease (Level 5; TSV)
  • BC5202: Advanced Laboratory Practice in Molecular and Cell Biology (Level 5; TSV)
  • BC5312: Research and Dissertation in Molecular and Cell Biology (Level 5; TSV)
  • BM1000: Introductory Biochemistry and Microbiology (Level 1; TSV)
  • TV1102: Cell Biology and Biochemistry for Veterinary Science and Agriculture (Level 1; TSV)
  • Immunogenetics of autoimmune disease
  • Innate immunity
  • Genetics of immune regulation
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Autoimmune gastritis
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2011 to 2015 - NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (B)
  • 2006 to 2010 - NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (B)
  • 2001 to 2005 - NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (A)
  • 1997 to 2000 - NHMRC RD Wright Fellowship
  • 1992 to 1995 - NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship
  • 2013 - Elected member of the Council for the International Union of Immunological Societies.
  • 2012 - Elected member of the Council for the Federation of Immunological Societies for Asia/Oceania.
  • 2012 - Senior Editorial Board, American J Clinical and Experimental Immunology
  • 2010 - Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia Research Management Council
  • 2006 - Board of the Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine
  • 2004 to 2007 - Professional Review Panel, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • 1999 to 2003 - Professional Advisory Panel, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Australia
  • 1997 to 2002 - Editorial Board, Autoimmunity
  • 2007 - Associate Editor, Immunology and Cell Biology
  • 2004 - Associate Editor, The Review of Diabetic Studies
  • 2006 to 2008 - President, Australasian Society for Immunology
  • 2004 to 2008 - Associate Editor, Journal of Immunology
  • 2005 to 2006 - Vice-President, Australasian Society for Immunology

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 103+ research outputs authored by Prof Alan Baxter from 1989 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Queensland Health - Queensland Genomics Health Alliance Project Fund

Bringing Modern Genomics to the Management of Lung Cancer in Queensland

Indicative Funding
$221,388 over 2 years (administered by QUT)
Our project will overcome many of the issues slowing the implementation of cancer genomics and personalised medicine in the state, including (and where relevant, in partnership with the QGHA capability projects): ? We will develop models of care covering all aspects from consent, sample collection and handling, genomic profiling, data analysis and reporting of both somatic and heritable variants, to enable clinical uptake. ? We will develop education programs for health care workers and patients. ? We will establish protocols for cancer genomics in Indigenous populations in consensus with Indigenous communities. ? We will perform a comprehensive analysis of the performance of all aspects of the upgraded model of care and compare it with the current standard of care to identify areas for improvement, and to establish the case for its broader implementation. A system of performance analysis and systems improvement will be built into the care pathways developed, to ensure continuous service improvement beyond the life of this project.
Matt Brown, Ken O'Byrne, Fong Kwun, Ian Yang, Stephen Fox, Jayesh Desai, Alan Baxter, Emily Callander, Sabe Sabesan, Jacinta Elston, Nick Graves and Paul Leo (Queensland University of Technology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, The Prince Charles Hospital, The University of Queensland, Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Medicine & Dentistry and Division of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Genomics; Lung Cancer; Clinical care

Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia - Project Grant

An immune transcriptional regulatory network approach to Multiple Sclerosis

Indicative Funding
$240,000 over 3 years
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease resulting from a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. In an attempt to understand the integration of both sets of risk factors, we have compared mRNA transcripts between relapsing/remitting (RR) MS patients and healthy controls in 5 leukocyte subsets: CD4 and CD8 T cells, B cells, NK cells and monocytes. A gene co-expression network was generated based on correlation of expression levels across >700 gene expression microarrays, and a major co-ordinately regulated sub-network (module) of mRNA transcripts that is differentially expressed in the monocytes of RR-MS patients was identified. This project validates, characterizes and attempts to manipulate this transcriptional module in human cells ex-vivo and in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity. These results should provide greater explanatory power than the analyses of individual risk factors separately and may provide a multi-faceted target for intervention.
Alan Baxter, Margaret Jordan, Helmut Butzkueven and Louise Laverick in collaboration with Letitia Smith (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and The University of Melbourne)
Autoimmunity; Cellular Immunology; Immunogenetics; Multiple Sclerosis; mouse models; humans

Townsville Hospital and Health Service - Study Education Research Trust Account (SERTA)

Tropikids Pilot Study: Longitudinal study of the social determinants of health and development of children in the tropics. TropiKids - an affiliate of the Mater-University Study of Pregnancy

Indicative Funding
TropiKids will study the health and well-being of mothers and fathers and the growth, development and health of their children. The information will inform public policy and service provision, and advance our knowledge of the social and biological determinants of health for Tropical North Queensland. The specific focus of this pilot study is to test the materials and recruitment method for the TropiKids Longitudinal study, and to investigate in a tropical environment the associations between maternal and paternal characteristics (including stress), birth outcomes, and infectious disease in the first year of life.
Kerrianne Watt, Linda Shields, Alan Baxter, Zoltan Sarnyai, Wendy Smyth, Damon Eisen and Brett McDermott (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Townsville Hospital and Health Service and College of Medicine & Dentistry)
Paediatrics; Social Determinants of Health; Epidemiology; Infectious Diseases; Risk Factors; Immunology

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Ketogenic diet as a potential novel treatment for schizophrenia in translational animal models (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • The Role of Natural Killer Cell Granule Protein 7 (NKG7) in Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity of Cancer and Virally Infected Cells (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Causes of Multiple Sclerosis: A Functional Genomics Approach. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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