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15 Feb 2023

Garvan appoints respected scientist and research leader as new Executive Director

Professor Benjamin Kile, internationally recognised blood cell molecular biologist, will lead Garvan as its next Executive Director.

Garvan Institute of Medical Research is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Benjamin Kile as the Institute’s incoming Executive Director.

Professor Kile brings with him an extensive background in academic and research leadership, most recently serving as the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Adelaide, and formerly as Head of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology at Monash University. He has also held leadership roles at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), including Joint Head of the Chemical Biology Division, where he spearheaded a restructure of WEHI’s early-stage drug discovery program, now the National Drug Discovery Centre. 

Professor Kile’s research career has focused on the molecular regulation of blood cell formation and function, with a particular interest in the impact of targeted cancer therapies on cellular survival. His scientific achievements have been recognised by numerous awards and fellowships throughout his career, including from the Australian Government as Life Scientist of the Year in 2010.

He has served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of MuriGen Therapeutics and currently serves on the boards of the Australian Genomics Research Facility and the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute. In recent years, Professor Kile has played a pivotal role in the establishment of the South Australian Immunogenomics Cancer Institute (SAiGENCI) and was instrumental in developing the vision and securing significant federal funding for South Australia’s first Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Professor Kile succeeds Professor Chris Goodnow, who stepped down from the role in July 2022, owing to illness.

Dr John Schubert AO, Chairman of Garvan, said that Professor Kile’s appointment heralds a new era for Garvan.

“Professor Kile is a respected scientist and research leader with an impressive track record, and we are delighted to welcome him to Garvan. After a competitive international search, Professor Kile was identified as an outstanding candidate. We are confident that he will take Garvan’s already strong position as a globally respected research organisation and elevate the Institute even higher,” he said.

“On behalf of Garvan, I want to extend my deepest appreciation for Professor Chris Goodnow’s passionate and unwavering leadership of the Institute. While we were saddened that he had to make the difficult decision to step down, we are delighted that he will continue his research program here, including working on a universal COVID-19 vaccine.”

Professor Kile will formally commence the Executive Directorship role in the coming months.

“I am humbled and incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to lead an organisation brimming with such talented, creative and passionate people, who are united in their desire to prevent, diagnose, treat and ultimately cure disease. Garvan has a proud history of rigour, excellence and impact. It also has an incredible network of supporters who share the vision and help drive the Institute ever forward. Together with partners St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney and UNSW, and world-leading capabilities in genomics, Garvan is poised to make a profound impact in cancer, immunology and precision medicine.”

Professor Kile begins at Garvan on 27 April.