Brendan McMorran was born in New Zealand and completed his education in Dunedin. He majored in biochemistry at The University of Otago, New Zealand, and graduated with BSc Hons (1993) and PhD (1997). He conducted his postdoctoral studies with Professor Brandon Wainwright at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland (1997-2006), where he worked on cystic fibrosis and host response to lung disease. He was appointed a Senior Research Fellow at Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania in 2006 and co-led a research program with Professor Simon Foote investigating the protective role of platelets in malaria infection. This research continued at Macquarie University, Sydney, following his appointment as Associate Professor in 2012. He joined The John Curtin School of Medical Research in December 2014 as an Associate Professor, and continues to lead research programs on platelets and malaria, development of host-directed therapies, and genetic causes of renal disease in Tiwi Islanders. His research is supported by the NHMRC and ARC.
The main focus of my research is to understand the host response to malarial infection. Malaria survival has been a major driver in the evolutionary history of humans and many protective mechanisms have arisen that determine an individuals’ susceptibility to infection. One such mechanism involves platelets, which are able to bind parasite-infected cells and kill the parasite within. Understanding the molecular basis and clinical importance of these observations are major focuses in my group. I am also interested in discovering novel genes and pathways that protect the host during an infection, and using this knowledge to develop so-called host-directed therapies for malaria.