I completed my PhD in 1995 under the supervision of Paul Prociv and Joan Opdebeeck at the University of Queensland. My thesis topic was the development of a diagnostic immunoassay for human enteric infections with canine hookworms. My love of worms continued into my first postdoc at The University of Edinburgh with Rick Maizels which dealt with the proteomic characterisation and functional analyses of the major excretory/secretory (ES) proteins of the round worm Toxocara canis. I returned to Australia in 1999 on an NHMRC Howard Florey fellowship at QIMR in Brisbane, returning to hookworms but also expanding into schistosomiasis. A few years later I headed overseas again, this time to take up a post as Assistant Professor at George Washington University in the US to work with Peter Hotez and the Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative (HHVI). Working with the HHVI provided an unique opportunity to test the vaccine efficacy of some of the ES proteins that I had been characterising at the molecular level. In 2004 I returned to QIMR on an NHMRC Career Development Award and established the Helminth Biology laboratory. In 2010 I moved to James Cook University in Cairns, QLD as a Tropical Research Leader, where I established the Centre for Biodiscovery and Molecular Development of Therapeutics (CBMDT).
My group is primarily interested in the secretomes of parasitic helminths, and the subsequent use of ES proteins as (1) vaccines for human helminth infections, and (2) novel anti-inflammatories for treating a range of autoimmune and allergic disorders of humans. In addition to my role at JCU, I am editor-in-chief of the International Journal for Parasitology.