Associate Professor Justin Rubio

Parkville Campus
30 Royal Parade
Parkville Victoria 3052

Research group
Neurogenetics Group

Associate Professor Justin Rubio


After completing a PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in 1996 on malaria genomics, Associate Professor Rubio researched the genetic basis of human neurological diseases at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford (UK). He was awarded a Howard Florey Postdoctoral Fellowship (Royal Society, London) in 1997 and was instrumental in the discovery of the gene for chorea acanthocytosis. He returned to WEHI in 1999 as Project Leader in the Genes-CRC.

In 2004, Associate Professor Rubio was awarded an NHMRC Biomedical Career Development Award and, in the same year, established The Neurogenetics Laboratory at The Florey. From 2007–2009 he led the ANZgene MS Genetics Consortium’s whole genome scan project, which identified CD40 and CYP27B1 as novel susceptibility genes for MS. He is currently Chair of the ANZgene MS Genetics Consortium.

In 2009, he was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship, which he declined in order to take a position in the Genetics Division at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK, UK). At GSK, he led a program of genetic and pharmacogenomic research supporting drug development across the pipeline, with a particular focus on the neuroscience and infectious diseases therapy areas.

In 2015, he was recruited back to Australia to take up a joint appointment in human genetics at The University of Melbourne (Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics) and The Florey. Since 2020, he has been a full-time employee of The Florey, where he has established a research program in single-cell genomics and next-generation sequencing and is seeking to leverage these capabilities to dissect the pathogenesis of neurological diseases such as MS and motor neuron disease.

Career highlights

Current roles

  • 2015–Current Principal Research Fellow, Neurogenetics Group (Head), The Florey
  • 2016–Current ANZgene MS Genetics Consortium (Chair)

Past roles

  • 2013–2016 Honorary Senior Lecturer (Imperial College, London)
  • 2013–2015 Target Validation Working Group (Chair), GSK Genetics, UK
  • 2010–2015 Senior Director, Therapy Area Head for Infectious Diseases, GSK Genetics, UK
  • 2009–2015 Senior Director, Therapy Area Head for Neurosciences, GSK Genetics, UK
  • 2009–2015 Leadership Team Member, GSK Genetics, UK
  • 2004–2009 Neurogenetics Lab (Head), Howard Florey Institute, Melbourne
  • 2005– 2009 R.D.Wright – NHMRC Biomedical Career Development Fellow
  • 1999–2004 Genes-CRC MS Project (Project Lead), WEHI, Melbourne
  • 1997–1999 Howard Florey Postdoctoral Fellow, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Oxford, UK
  • 1992–1996 PhD student, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Other highlights

  • H-index of 38 and i10-index of 60
  • 14 manuscripts with >100 citations (6 as first or senior author)

Grant funding (since 2016)

  • Computational Biology Research Initiative, University of Melbourne, (2016, $20,000).
  • Melbourne Neuroscience Institute, University of Melbourne, (2016, $40,000)
  • Rebecca Cooper Foundation (2017, $24,000)
  • MS Research Australia Incubator grant (2017, $18,000)
  • National MS Society (USA) (2017, $52,000)
  • Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation grant (2018, $50,000)
  • MS Research Australia Project Grant (2018-19, $229,000)
  • MND Research Institute of Australia grant-in-aid (2018, $99,000)
  • MS Australia Project Grant (2023, $250,000)
  • NHMRC Ideas Grant (APP 1186460, 2020–2022, $987,000)

Awards and achievements

  • 2009–2012 Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship – declined to join GSK
  • 2005–2009 Biomedical (R.D. Wright) NHMRC Career Development Award
  • 2006 Annual Dintenfass Award for the most innovative grant application from the Rebecca Cooper Medical Research Foundation – ‘A cutting edge diagnostic tool for Parkinson’s disease’
  • 1997–1999 Howard Florey Postdoctoral Fellowship, Royal Society of London, UK
  • 1992–1995 NHMRC Australian postgraduate research award for PhD

Research publications


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