Professor Simon Foote

Director, The John Curtin School of Medical Research
Colleges of Sciences - Joint Programs
T: 02 6125 2589

Areas of expertise

  • Genetics 0604
  • Medical Microbiology 1108
  • Medical Parasitology 110803

Research interests

Our laboratory is interested in the genetic control of susceptibility to disease, with particular focus on infectious disease. We have identified loci governing the response to leishmaniasis and malaria. However the major focus of the laboratory is on trying to identify new drugs to combat malaria. By using the example of natural mutations that affect the red cell and making it difficult for the parasite to grow, we have found genes, that when mutated, prevent growth of malarial parasites. These genetic changes point the way to the creation of a new type of treatment that will be steadfast against the development of drug resistance.

Our laboratory is also interested in the genetic susceptibility to other diseases of humans. We are currently working on investigating the reasons that renal disease is so common in Aboriginal communities.



Simon Foote is a medical graduate from Melbourne University. He practiced medicine until 1989. He completed his PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in 1989 in the genetics of malarial drug resistance. He spent 5 years at the Whitehead Institute at MIT studying the human genome. He generated several physical maps of part and/all of the human genome. Upon his return to Australia he was first a laboratory head, then joint head of the Genetics and Bioinformatics division with Terry Speed at the WEHI. With John Mattick, he set up the Australian Genome Research Facility in 1997. He became director of the Menzies Research Institute, Tasmania in 2005, Dean of the Medical School at Macquarie University in 2012 and Director of the John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU in 2014. 

Simon Foote was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2016, and was a founding member of Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS), elected to the Academy in 2014, and is also a Council Member of the AAHMS. Simon Foote was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) in 2009.


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Updated:  19 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers