An expert in the field of immunoparasitology
Alex Loukas is professor and the director of the Centre for Biodiscovery and Molecular Development of Therapeutics (CBMDT) at James Cook University in Australia.
Alex Loukas completed his Ph.D. in the field of immunoparasitology at the University of Queensland in Australia in 1995 and the thesis topic was the development of a diagnostic immunoassay for human enteric infections with canine hookworms. He then conducted a postdoc at University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, characterising the excretory/secretory (ES) proteins of the nematode parasite Toxocaracanis.
In 1999, after winning the NHMRC Howard Florey fellowship at QIMR in Brisbane, he returned to Australia and worked at QIMR. After a few years, he became an assistant professor at George Washington University in Washington DC and established a laboratory within the Gates funded Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative (HHVI). There he tested the vaccine efficacy of some of the ES proteins that he had been characterising at the molecular level.
In 2004, Alex Loukas returned at QIMR and established the Helminth Biology laboratory, where he continued close collaborations with the HHVI and led the antigen discovery program. He also established programs in vaccine development for schistosomiasis and pathogenesis of infections with the carcinogenic human liver fluke.
In 2010, he relocated his group to James Cook University where he established the Centre for Biodiscovery and Molecular Development of Therapeutics (CBMDT) with co-founding director, Richard Keene. At the CBMDT, his research is focused in vaccines against human helminths using a range of approaches to discover antigens to incorporate into subunit vaccines for the treatment of schistosomiasis and hookworm disease and in the treatment of inflammatory diseases with hookworm proteins, focusing on the identification of the individual proteins responsible for therapeutic anti-inflammatory effects and their immunologic mechanisms by which they exert their actions.
Alex Loukas has won numerous honors and awards. He won the NHMRC Howard Florey fellowship in 1999, he won the NHMRC R. Douglas Wright career development award in 2004, the Bancroft-Mackerras medal awarded by the Australian Society for Parasitology for outstanding contributions to parasitology in the past 5 years and the Ralph Doherty prize awarded by QIMR for leadership/excellence in medical research in 2006 and won the NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship in 2007.
He also served as editor-in-chief of the International Journal for Parasitology for the period 2009-2015 and is now Deputy Editor of the journal.