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 has been a member of the Australasian Society for Immunology since 1994 and was President of the Society from 2006-2008. Alan is currently a member of the Council of the Federation of Immunological Societies of Asia-Oceania, the Council of the International Union of Immunological Societies and the MSRA Research Management Council. He is a member of the editorial boards of Immunology and Cell Biology and The Review of Diabetic Studies and is a reviewer for several journals including Nature Medicine, Science, The Lancet, Diabetologia, Autoimmunity, and the Journal of Immunology. His extensive commitments to the public appreciation of science have helped promote rational discussion of the health sciences in Australia. 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. In 2013, he was appointed Honorary Professor at the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow. His work is funded by the NHMRC, ARC and Lions Club.


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


  • BC2024: Cell Biology (Level 2; TSV)
  • BC3102: Molecular Basis of Disease (Level 3; TSV)
  • BC3201: Bioengineering (Level 3; TSV)
  • BC3202: Special Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Level 3; TSV)
  • BC5101: Advanced Genes, Genomes and Development (Level 5; TSV)
  • BC5102: Advanced Molecular Basis of Disease (Level 5; TSV)
  • BC5201: Advanced Bioengineering (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)
  • MD1020: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 2 of 2 (Level 1; TSV)
  • MD3011: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 1 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
  • PC2001: Molecular Basis of Therapeutics 2 (Level 2; TSV)
  • PC3102: Health Care for Pharmacists (Level 3; 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 101+ 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.

Townsville Health Service District - Study Education Research Trust Account

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

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

Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation - Research Grant

Causes of multiple scelerosis: A functional genomics approach

Indicative Funding
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that damages the brain and spinal cord and can cause numbness, muscle weakness, difficulties with coordination and balance, problems with speech and swallowing, visual problems, fatigue and bladder and bowel difficulties. After a worldwide effort, a large number of multiple sclerosis genes have been localised in the human genome. This project examines two of these genes in more detail with the aim of identifying exactly how they contribute to the risk of developing MS.
Margaret Jordan, Alan Baxter and Adrian Gemiarto (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Multiple Sclerosis; Autoimmunity; Susceptibiity genes; Animal model; Innate immunity

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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.

  • Causes of Multiple Sclerosis: A Functional Genomics Approach. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • NKT Cell Development and Regulatory Factors in Non-Obese Diabetic Mice (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • The effects of the Ketogenic diet on animal models of schizophrenia (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

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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