Viral immunologist and antimicrobial pharmacologist elected Academy Fellows

2023 Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti and Professor Jian Li
2023 Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti and Professor Jian Li

Two researchers from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) have been elected as 2023 Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS), Australia’s most prestigious honour in science.  Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti and Professor Jian Li join just over 600 of the nation’s most distinguished scientists, elected by their peers for ground-breaking research and contributions that have had clear impact.

Director of the Monash BDI, Professor John Carroll, congratulated Professors Degli-Esposti and Li on their election to the Academy.

“Mariapia and Jian being elected as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science is testament to the outstanding quality of their research over many years,” Professor Carroll said.

“Each of these incredible scientists have made significant advances in their fields, and their discoveries can be harnessed therapeutically in the clinic,” he said.

Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti, who also holds an adjunct appointment at the Lions Eye Institute (Perth), is an internationally renowned expert in the field of viral immunology. Her research focuses on understanding the regulation of complex immune responses, including those that affect the eye. Her findings have been key to both basic and translational research aimed at developing improved therapies by harnessing the immune system.

Professor Degli-Esposti is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. She has received numerous awards, including the UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research in 2019, the Cancer Council WA award for Cancer Researcher of the Year 2017, and the University of Western Australia Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Award 2015 for sustained career excellence and distinguished achievement in research.

“New knowledge holds the power to shape the future and science has given me the opportunity to contribute to expanding knowledge. Being elected to the Academy is a tremendous honour and a tribute to the creativity and dedication of members of my team over the past 25 years,” said Professor Degli-Esposti.

Discover more at the Degli-Esposti Laboratory website

Professor Jian Li has an internationally recognised track record in antimicrobial pharmacology and drug discovery. He is a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher in Pharmacology & Toxicology (2015 - 2017, 2022). Professor Li’s team has developed a novel antibiotic from concept to clinical trials. His research has also led to the first scientifically-based dosing guidelines of polymyxins which have been adopted worldwide and have significantly improved clinical practice.

On a mission to combat superbugs, Professor Jian Li is exploring two main approaches: optimising antibiotic use and developing novel therapeutics driven by long-term basic research. As a new AAS Fellow, he describes the challenge.
Video courtesy of the AAS.

Professor Li is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. He has received numerous awards, including the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council’s Ten of the Best Research Projects in 2014, the Australian Academy of Science’s Jacques Miller Medal in 2017, and the Monash University Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research Engagement and Impact in 2022.

“The translation of breakthrough biomedical discoveries from the laboratory to therapeutics can substantially improve health care and socio-economic benefits globally. I feel deeply honoured and thrilled to be elected, and am immensely grateful to my hard-working team, mentors, collaborators, family and Monash University for their tremendous support throughout the years,” said Professor Li.

Discover more at the Jian Li Laboratory website

Professor Michael Fuhrer from Monash University's School of Physics and Astronomy was also elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS).

Read more about each of the three Monash University researchers newly elected as Fellows of the AAS on Monash News.

Read more about each of the 20 newly elected 2023 Australian Academy of Science Fellows on the AAS News website.


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About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute
Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Spanning seven discovery programs across Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Development and Stem Cells, Infection, Immunity, Metabolism, Diabetes and Obesity, and Neuroscience, Monash BDI is one of the largest biomedical research institutes in Australia. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery

About the Lions Eye Institute
At the Lions Eye Institute, we make a difference to people’s lives through excellent patient care and by pushing the frontiers of science to discover new treatments and cures for eye disease. As a not for profit organisation, the Lions Eye Institute spans the dual complementary pathways of research and clinical care. We bring together a globally recognised team of researchers and clinicians who continually build on each other’s discoveries, knowledge and expertise to deliver sight-saving treatment and care around the world. The quest for knowledge and its life-changing applications for patients is what drives our work. For more Lions Eye Institute media stories, visit our news site

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