Garvan Breakthrough magazine - Aug 2018

Surfing is one of Professor Chris Goodnow’s first passions. The map on the wall of his office shows Indonesia’s remote Mentawai Islands where he and his mates discovered now-famous surf breaks.


In May, we welcomed Professor Chris Goodnow faa frs as our new Executive Director.

As our past Deputy Director and Immunogenomics Lab Head, Professor Chris Goodnow is a familiar face to many. However, there are a few things you may not know about Chris: he lived in the United States until age 12, when his Aussie mum wanted to move back to be closer to her family; his first degree was in Veterinary Medicine; and he’s been a keen surfer since he was a teenager – and still is. One of Australia’s most outstanding scientists, Chris is an internationally recognised immunology expert. Throughout his career he has pioneered the use of DNA technology and genome sequencing to reveal how the immune system distinguishes between our own tissues and invading foreign microbes, and how these processes go awry in autoimmune disease. His extensive experience includes positions at Stanford and the Australian National University. He’s received numerous awards and has been elected to the Australian Academy of Science, the Royal Society (UK) and the National Academy of Science (USA). Chris explains what inspires him most about his new role: “It is Garvan’s people – from researchers to support staff, management and our generous donors – who make the Institute the inspiring and outcome-focused place that it is.

“We now have some of the most powerful technologies on the planet to explore our cells and to understand how that shapes our health as individuals. We have terrific research programs across a wide range of disease areas and outstanding connections with St Vincent’s Hospital, UNSW Sydney and hospitals around Sydney and Australia. These close relationships are essential to speed the translation of our research into real clinical impacts.” As well as becoming Garvan’s Executive Director, Chris will continue to hold his current positions as Head of the Immunogenomics Laboratory in the Immunology Division, The Bill and Patricia Ritchie Foundation Chair and Conjoint Professor at UNSW Sydney in the St Vincent’s Clinical School (Faculty of Medicine). “I’m very much looking forward to continuing to work with Garvan’s driven and talented team as we strive, through our research and clinical endeavours, to make a meaningful difference to the health and wellbeing of Australians and people around the world.”

To view a video of Chris outlining his vision for Garvan, visit .

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