Professor Brandon Wainwright AM is a geneticist, renowned for discovering the genetic pathway that causes most human cancer. He is skilled in molecular genetics, where he is using genetic approaches to dig through DNA and find the genes that cause disease.

He commenced using these skills to locate the cystic fibrosis gene, but it was when isolating a gene responsible for a rare form of brain cancer called Medulloblastoma, that he discovered the ‘Hedgehog Pathway.'

He discovered not only the first brain cancer-causing gene but also a pathway involved in most cancers of all types.

The primary focus of his current research is brain cancer because it is the most common cause of death in children and the most common cause of cancer-related death in people under 40. He is also applying his expertise to common cancer generally (particularly skin cancer), and neurodegenerative disease.

Success for Professor Wainwright will be seeing a child cured of brain cancer that would otherwise have died. And he is confident that he can help make it happen.

He is formerly Director of UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, where he proudly leads a team of talented discovery scientists translating their findings to life-changing applications.


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Researcher biography

Professor Wainwright is Director of UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, which is recognised nationally and internationally as one of Australia's leading life sciences research institutes. As Director, Professor Wainwright is responsible for advancing the institute's research initiatives, strengthening the institute's global connections, and leading IMB's 500 scientists, postgraduate students and support staff with an annual budget of $60 million. The institute's mission is to advance scientific knowledge and deliver new health and industry applications.

Professor Wainwright completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at The University of Adelaide, after which he secured a postdoctoral fellowship with St Mary's Hospital at Imperial College London. During his six years at Imperial he worked on the first human genome project and also became a Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellow. He returned to Australia in 1990 to join UQ's Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology (now IMB).

Professor Wainwright leads his own IMB laboratory, is chair of the Queensland Institutes of Health, and serves on the boards of the Australian Genome Research Facility and Life Sciences Queensland, and a number of national and international scientific review committees.

Featured projects Duration
Tissue repair and cancer