The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Dr Julie McAuley

Dr Julie McAuley

+61 3 8344 7751 |

Senior Research Officer | Leader, Doherty COVID-19 Antiseptics Platform
Viral Infectious Diseases
Discovery Research
The University of Melbourne, Department of Microbiology and Immunology (DMI)
Lab Group(s):
Purcell Lab, Lawson Group

In 2009, Julie completed an international Postdoctoral Fellowship at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, received an NHMRC New Investigator Priming grant and was recruited by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne. Julie leads an internationally recognised research program dedicated to understanding influenza virulence and host-response mechanisms that enhance disease.

Upon onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Julie pivoted her program focus to SARS-CoV-2. She launched the COVID-19 Antiseptics platform, providing the Doherty with frontline ability to conduct commercial and collaborative research. Her high-containment laboratory and collaborative network have been pivotal in aiding COVID-19 diagnostic, vaccine and antiviral development and has significantly contributed to the global effort against the pandemic.

  • Key Achievements
    • Awards


      • MDHS Staff Excellence Award for Industrial-Engaged Research
      • “Surge” A photographic historical record of health care workers experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.


      • Metro Tunnel “Thank You” Project - A mural dedicated to frontline COVID-19 Workers
      • Victorian Governor General “Thank you concert and brunch” to honour the front-line responders who served the Victorian community during the 2019/20 bushfires and the COVID-19 response


      • Sir Weary Dunlop Medical Research Fellowship
    • Funding

      • COVID Antiseptics Platform: >20 commercial and collaborative contracts
      • 4 x MRFF grants (since 2021)
      • 3 x NHMRC project grants (2009-2019)
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    Research Groups
    • Purcell Lab

      Professor Damian Purcell’s research group investigates the HIV-1 and HTLV-1 human retroviruses that cause AIDS and leukaemia/inflammatory pathogenesis respectively. The lab studies their genetic structure and gene expression with a focus on defining the mechanisms that control viral persistence and pathogenesis. The molecular interplay of viral and host factors during viral infection and the innate and adaptive immune responses to viral infection are examined. These molecular insights are used to develop new antiviral and curative therapeutics, preventive prophylactic vaccines and passive antibody microbicides and therapeutics. Some of these patented discoveries have been commercialised and we are assisting with clinical trials.

      Lab Team

      Purcell Lab

    • Lawson Group

      The focus of the Lawson lab is understanding the pathogenesis of transmissible diseases affecting the central (CNS) and enteric nervous systems (ENS) using a range of methods that encompass cell-free, cell-based and in vivo models of disease.

      Under investigation are virological diseases such as COVID-19 and non-conventional infectious diseases including prion (Creutzfeldt Jakob disease) and prion-like diseases (synucleinopathies ie Parkinson’s disease). Of particular interest is the effect of strain variation on invasion, pathogenesis, and inflammation in the CNS and ENS. The aim of our research is to better understand disease pathogenesis to develop methods to treat, diagnose and prevent disease.

      Lab Team

      • Laura Ellet
        Research Assistant
      • Shana Portelli
        PhD Student

Full University of Melbourne profile