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Deborah Burnett

Dr Deborah Burnett

Group Leader
Protective Immunity Group

Dr Deborah Burnett’s background in veterinary medicine kindled her interest in comparative immunology in health and disease. Deborah undertook her honours at the WEHI under the supervision of Professor Benjamin Kile, investigating the mechanisms of platelet survival. In 2019, she completed a PhD at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in the laboratory of Professor Chris Goodnow. Her PhD investigated the role of B cells in tolerance and immunity. It had joint aims of understanding the mechanisms of the autoimmune diseases, LRBA deficiency and understanding the role of self-binding B cells in immune responses and was awarded the Garvan Best PhD thesis, the UNSW Dean’s Award and the UNSW Faculty of Medicine Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research. In 2019, she was awarded a DAAD visiting Scholar Fellowship to undertake research in the laboratory of Professor Wardemann in Germany. In 2020, she was awarded an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellowship, a COVID-19 Catalytic Grant and in 2021 she received a Perpetual Impact Grant.

She currently serves on numerous boards including the Garvan Animal Ethics Committee and as a Council member for the Australian Society of Immunology.

Deborah’s research now focuses on the use of sophisticated mouse models to understand the role of antibodies in healthy vaccine responses and in disease.


  • 2020Awarded NHMRC - Emerging Leadership 1 Investigator Grant
  • 2019Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research by a Higher Degree Student - UNSW Medicine Education and Research Awards
  • 2019DAAD Short Term Research Grant at the DKFZ - Germany
  • 2019Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Theses - UNSW Graduate Research School
  • 2019Garvan Best PhD Thesis Award
  • 2018Australian Society of Immunology New Investigator - Finalist
  • 2018Immunology and Cell Biology Journal Publication of the Year Award
  • 2015Australian Postgraduate Award - University of NSW
  • 2015Research Excellence Award - University of NSW
  • 2010Alan W Harris Honours Medical Research Scholarship
  • 2010The H.R. Carne Medal for First Place in BSc(Vet) (Hons) Degree
  • 2010University College Graduate Scholarship
  • 2010University of Sydney Honours Scholarship

Selected publications

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