David is a public health researcher with two decades experience in addressing community health issues in remote areas of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. His work focuses on understanding the complex interplay between biomedicine, health service provision and socio-cultural understandings of health.

David uses participatory research methods with a range of partners from laboratory scientists, health service professionals and community leaders to address health issues of importance to local communities. His collaborative projects include investigating culturally appropriate TB services, locally appropriate sanitation and traditional use of medicinal rainforest plants in Malaita, Solomon Islands. In Papua New Guinea, he is collaborating with a range of partners to investigate the acceptability and feasibility of male circumcision for HIV prevention and faith-based responses to HIV. David enthusiastically supports research capacity building and incorporates capacity building across all research activities. He is a founding member of the Atoifi Health Research Group in Solomon Islands. David works in partnership with the Australian Museum and the Kwainaa'isi Cultural Centre in remote mountains of Malaita Province, Solomon Islands on a range of culture and conservation projects. 

David is convenor of the International Strategy Committee within the College of Medicine and Dentistry.  

David is currently chief investigator on grants worth over $5.5 million. These include

  • $750,000 NHMRC funded "Resolving Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) transmission" working with partners in Australia, Papua New Guinea and the United States to investigate viral transmission across the human foreskin.

  • $2million DFAT funded "Tropical partnerships to strengthen health systems responses to infectious disease threats" working with partners across Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Eastern Indonesia to strengthen operational research skills in the region to respond to infectious disease in the tropics.

  • $2.5 million NHMRC funded "Australian Centre for the Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Disease" of which David is co-convenor of the Pacific Hub.


  • MD3012: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 2 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
Socio-Economic Objectives

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 81+ research outputs authored by A/Prof David MacLaren from 2007 onwards.

Current Funding

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

National Health & Medical Research Council - Centres of Research Excellence

The Australian Centre for the Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases

Indicative Funding
$48,500 over 5 years (administered by UNSW)
The vision for the Australian Centre for the Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ACE-NTDs) is to accelerate the control and ultimately elimination of key NTDs in our region. We will focus on endemic NTD's for which the large-scale preventative chemotherapy approach has been designated internationally as a proven and promising component of control strategies. ACE-NYD's will be the first national collbartion in the control of these infections.
John Kaldor, Andrew Steer, Rebecca Traub, Archie Clements, Adrian Miller, Virginia Wiseman, Gillian Schierhout, Jodie McVernon, David MacLaren and Susan Nery (The University of New South Wales, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, The University of Melbourne, Australian National University, Charles Darwin University, Kirby Institute and College of Medicine & Dentistry)
Neglected Tropical Disease

Palladium Pty Ltd - Australia Pacific Climate Partnership

Traditional Knowledge about Climate and Food Security in Kwaio, Malaita, Solomon Islands

Indicative Funding
$95,000 over 1 year
This project will be implemented in conjunction with Baru Conservation Alliance in Malaita, Solomon Islands. Traditional Knowledge and experience of weather, the seasonal interaction of plants, animals and people will be explored and documented. The use of tradiitional 'disaster food' after natural disasters will also be documented. The local scale production of flour from locally grown fuits and vegetables will be piloted; usage and spoilage monitored, and dishes made from flour trialled for acceptability and feasibility with Kwaio tribal groups. The project links food security, health and ecological sustainability to inform local level disaster and climate resilience measures in Malaita, Solomon Islands.
David MacLaren, Karen Cheer, Michelle Redman-MacLaren, Colin MacGregor and Darren Crayn in collaboration with Tommy Esau, Esau Kekeubata, Dorothy Esau, Maasafi Alabai, Paul Flemons, Tyrone Lavery and Rebecca Johnson (College of Medicine & Dentistry, College of Science & Engineering, Australian Tropical Herbarium, Baru Conservation Alliance, Australian Museum, Australian National University and Smithsonian Institute)
Solomon Islands; Baru Conservation Alliance; Climate Resilience; Food Security; Disaster Preparedness; Traditional Knowledge

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) - DFAT Administered (aid) Simple Grant Agreement

Community led development, climate resilience and conservation in East Malaita

Indicative Funding
$400,000 over 2 years
Baru Conservation Alliance (BCA) was established a registered Non-Government Organisation in 2019 by leaders from East Kwaio, Malaita, Solomon Islands to coordinate ecological and cultural conservation in their tribal lands. This includes the holistic health and wellbeing of plants, animals and people living in prescribed conservation areas. This project, funded by the Australian High Commission in Solomon Islands allows JCU and the Australian Museum to build sustainable scientific and management capacities with the fledgling organisation. The project will support a series of local JCU supported projects within conservation areas that include TB, water and sanitation, reproductive health, community education and reforestation.
David MacLaren, Michelle Redman-MacLaren and Tommy Esau in collaboration with Paul Flemmons, Dorothy Esau and Esau Kekeubata (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Australian Museum and Baru Conservation Alliance)
Conservation; Kwaio; Solomon Islands; Community Health; Tuberculosis

Fondation Segre Conservation Fund - Research Grant

Community conservation of Solomon Islands endemic mammals ? Phase 2

Indicative Funding
$77,500 over 2 years (administered by Australian Museum Research Institute)
The Solomon Islands archipelago has a unique fauna and flora ? a western Pacific equivalent of the Galapagos. The region?s largest native mammals are giant rats (Solomys and Uromys) and monkey-faced bats (Pteralopex). All species are considered to be endangered or critically endangered. This project aims to prevent extinctions and support community conservation efforts. Communities will identify giant rats and monkey-faced bats and collect basic biological information. This data will assist in defining conservation areas and link with ongoing JCU medicinal plants project in East Kwaio, Malaita Province.
Tim Flannery, K Helgen, Euan Ritchie, Jim Thomas, T Leary and David MacLaren in collaboration with E Kekeubata, Tommy Esau and J Noro (Australian Museum, Smithsonian Institute, Curtin University of Technology, Tenkile Conservation Alliance, NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, College of Medicine & Dentistry, Kwainaa Cultural Centre and University of Papua New Guinea)
Conservation; Kwaio

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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.

  • Developing understanding with Aboriginal Communities about tuberculosis for system change: participatory action research (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Engagement and Participation of Faith based Organizations in the Health System Reforms in Soloman Islands (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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