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Professor Ken Smith is WEHI’s seventh director.

He commenced in April 2024 after returning to Australia from the UK, where he had been Head of the Department of Medicine at Cambridge University since 2010.

Throughout his 30-year career, as both a researcher and clinician, Prof Smith has been renowned for his high-quality, innovative research and its impact on patient outcomes.

The Smith Lab at Cambridge University ran an experimental medicine and translational program focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying immune-mediated diseases. Work in the lab ranged from fundamental immunological principles, including the development of complex animal models, through experimental medicine and genetics, to clinical trials.

Prof Smith has strong international scientific research links and networks and brings a global outlook to take WEHI into a new era.

He has been instrumental in forming alliances between industry and academia and has first-hand experience in founding start-up companies and commercial experience with the pharmaceutical industry in the UK, US and Europe.

Prof Smith embraces equality, diversity and inclusion, with a commitment to driving the implementation of initiatives that support these priorities.

He completed his Doctor of Philosophy at WEHI through the University of Melbourne, supervised by former WEHI director, Sir Gustav Nossal AC, and Professor David Tarlinton. His Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery is from the University of Melbourne. Professor Smith is a qualified consultant physician (nephrology and general internal medicine) and pathologist (clinical immunology).

Prof Smith has a Doctor of Science from the University of Cambridge and was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2006, to the American Association of Physicians in 2020, and was awarded the Lister Institute Research Prize in 2007.

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