PROF Leann Tilley

PROF Leann Tilley


  • Antimalarial drugs
  • Light and electron microscopy
  • Malaria parasite-infected red blood cells



  • Leann Tilley is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, working in the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, The University of Melbourne. She is an Australian Research Council Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellow. Professor Tilley’s group undertakes research in the areas of cell biology and drug development related to the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. She is particularly interested in the unusual protein trafficking pathways that the malaria parasite uses to display virulence proteins at the erythrocyte surface, and in understanding the molecular basis for the remarkable transformation that allows the malaria parasite to be transmitted from a human host to a mosquito vector. Her lab also investigates the mechanisms of action of and resistance to the antimalarial drug, artemisinin, with a view to designing better antimalarial drugs. 

    Leann obtained her BSc(Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Melbourne working with Bill Sawyer, and her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Sydney, supervised by Greg Ralston. After postdoctoral fellowships at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, the College de France in Paris, and at the University of Melbourne, she joined the Biochemistry Department at La Trobe University. She was awarded an ARC Australian Professorial Fellowship. In the middle of 2011 she joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Melbourne. 

    Leann is a scientist who embraces a large range of technologies to further her understanding of her chosen biological questions, from drug and protein chemistry, to molecular cell biology, to novel imaging technologies. She is assisted in this by fantastic collaborations with experts from other disciplines, ranging from molecular parasitologists to organic chemists and optical physicists. 

    She served as Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coherent X-ray Science (CXS) (   


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • Professor Tilley's work is supported by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council, the Global Health Innovation Technology fund, and the GSK Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation.   


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Sydney 1985
  • BSc (Hons), University of Melbourne 1980

Awards and honors

  • Australian Society for Biophysics Bob Robertson Award, 2017
  • Eureka Prize for Infectious Disease, 2016
  • Australian Research Council Laureatre Professorial Fellowship, 2015
  • Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Beckman Coulter Discovery Award, 2011
  • Australian Research Council Professorial Fellowship, 2011
  • Australian Society for Parasitology Bancroft-Mackerras Medal, 2010



Available for supervision

  • Y