Head of the Gene Therapy Research Unit
Professor Ian Alexander BMedSci MBBS (Hons) PhD FRACP (Paeds) HGSA Clinical Geneticist, FAHMS, Director Laboratory Research and Senior Staff Specialist, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Professor in Paediatrics and Molecular Medicine, University of Sydney — is Head of the Gene Therapy Research Unit, a joint initiative of Children’s Medical Research Institute and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW).
Within the Hospital he holds appointments as a senior staff specialist and as the Director of Laboratory Research. He is Professor in Paediatrics and Molecular Medicine in the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Sydney and an Honorary Consultant in Clinical Genetics at Westmead Hospital. His training and day-to-day activities in both clinical medicine and laboratory research reflect his interest in translating research progress into improved health outcomes for children. After Professor Alexander completed specialty training in paediatrics at Prince of Wales Children’s Hospital, he obtained a PhD in Molecular Biology from the Garvan Institute in Sydney, before completing clinical genetics training at the Murdoch Institute in Melbourne. He then undertook postdoctoral studies at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle before returning to Australia to take up his current position. Professor Alexander has since established a translational research program and developed the specialised infrastructure and skill sets required to take promising novel therapies through to clinical application. His specific expertise and interests include virus-mediated gene transfer with a focus on target organs including the liver and bone marrow, both of which have immense promise as target organs for the treatment of genetic disease in children. His team became the first in Australia to treat a genetic disease (SCID-X1) by gene therapy and are recognised leaders in the establishment of this exciting field in Australia. Professor Alexander chaired the NHMRC Cellular Therapies Advisory Committee (CTAC). In addition, he helped establish the Australasian Gene Therapy Society, was elected as the inaugural president and was made a life member in 2009. His international recognition extends to positions as Chair of the International Committee of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, Australasian Regional Editor of Current Gene Therapy and Associate Editor for Human Gene Therapy and The Journal of Gene Medicine. In 2015 he was appointed as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and a Visiting Professor at University College London.