Grant Morahan

The University of Western Australia, Australia

Grant Morahan holds a Ph.D. degree in immunogenetics from the University of Melbourne, Australia. His research has covered the fields of antibody immunochemistry, immunological tolerance, immunogenetics, developmental genetics of the thymus, and genetics of complex genetic diseases, especially type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the NOD mouse and in humans. Highlights have included a number of “firsts” in genetic analyses: first use of multipoint linkage analysis in a complex genetic disease; first analysis of the involvement of susceptibility genes affecting early events in diabetogenesis; demonstration of the effectiveness of stratification in mapping a disease locus; demonstration of contribution of the same non-MHC locus to susceptibility in humans and mice; demonstration that males and females may have different T1D susceptibility genes. A major achievement was the identification of IL12B, the gene encoding a subunit of interleukin-12, as a candidate T1D susceptibility gene in Australian and British families. Morahan’s group was first to sequence, fine map and define variants in the IL12B gene, testing the inheritance of IL12B variants in over 400 T1D sib-pair families. He defined resistance and susceptibility alleles and showed these were associated with different levels of gene expression. This work led to studies of the gene in severe childhood asthma and fatal cerebral malaria. To date, Morahan’s work has resulted in the publication of over 115 scientific papers. Morahan is a Member of the Steering Committee of the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium; Principal Investigator of the Asia-Pacific Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Network; a Member of the worldwide Faculty of 1000; a Founder of the Complex Trait Consortium. He was appointed in 2005 as the inaugural Diabetes Research Foundation Professor at the University of Western Australia, and the Director of the Centre for Diabetes Research at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research.

Biography Updated on 4 May 2009

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