About Professor Warwick J Britton

After working in Nepal as a physician, Professor Britton completed a PhD on the immunology of leprosy, and then set up a field research laboratory in Nepal. His driving interest is to apply modern immunology and biotechnology to improve the control of tuberculosis and leprosy, and health care in low income countries.

Professor Britton is the Head of the Discipline of Infectious Diseases Immunology and the Mycobacterial Research Program in the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine Cell Biology, where he studies the immunological control of tuberculosis and new vaccine strategies to control this major human infection.

Professor Britton is a clinical immunologist who is recognised as an international authority on the immunology of infectious diseases. Professor Britton has made extensive contributions to the study of mycobacterial infections over the last 20 years. After graduating from the University of Sydney, he trained in Sydney, Melbourne and Liverpool before working in a rural hospital in Nepal, where he became fascinated by leprosy and tuberculosis. After completing a PhD on the immunology of leprosy, he established the Mycobacterial Research Laboratory in Kathmandu from 1986-89 for the study of human immune responses to Mycobacterium leprae. This continues as a major field centre for the study of leprosy. He then joined Faculty of Medicine and is currently the Bosch Chair of Medicine and the Head of the Disciplines of Medicine and Infectious Diseases & Immunology in the Central Clinical School. Over the last 15 years he has been the Head of the Mycobacterial Research Group at the Centenary Institute, with an emphasis on the study of M. tuberculosis infection over the last 10 years.  His studies have spanned the definition of mycobacterial antigens, including the first M. leprae specific protein, the first isolation of a mycobacterial heat shock protein 70, and the major membrane protein of M. leprae, the cloning and manipulation of mycobacterial genes, the characterisation of human and mouse host responses to mycobacterial infections, including the roles of the cytokines, LT_ and TNF, in mycobacterial infections, and the development of recombinant mycobacterial, viral and DNA vaccines against tuberculosis and leprosy. He has 165 publications in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters. He has recently edited the Immunology volume of a new definitive Handbook of Tuberculosis with Professor SHE Kaufmann, Max Plank, Berlin.  He has supervised 16 completed postgraduate students (15 PhD, 1 MSc) and is currently supervising 3 PhD and 1 MSc students.  He has additional research interests in the cellular immune responses in allergic disease, and the epidemiology of asthma. In 2002-03 he was recipient of one of two Fulbright Senior Scholar Awards for Australia to work at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda MD. This has led to a number of ongoing collaborative research projects. In 2004 he was the recipient of the RPAH Research Foundation medal for medical research.                   

Selected publications

For a comprehensive list of Professor Britton's publicatons, please visit his Sydney Medical School profile page.