Position: Director of Research
Field: Parasitic diseases, allergy and asthma
Organisation: Malaghan Institute of Medical Research
As the Research Director of the Malaghan Institute, Professor Graham Le Gros oversees the running of a number of research programmes involving a staff of 100 people. He also heads a research group of 8–10 people including PhD students. He enjoys the thinking, discussions and challenges involved in discovering how something works in the body.
Research is the most interesting thing to do. You think you understand something and then discover a new fact that changes your understanding completely.
As a child, Graham always had a strong interest in animals and plants. He was inspired by many of the books and stories by the naturalist David Attenborough. When Graham went to university, he developed a love and thirst for using knowledge to discover new things. He completed a degree in microbiology and then trained and worked as a health inspector and technician. However, he decided that he needed more challenge and went back to university to train for a career in research. Graham then worked in various places such as Washington DC and Switzerland.
Graham’s current area of interest is to discover the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the immune system, which can be used to make vaccines against parasites and treat allergic diseases.
Graham says, “Research is the most interesting thing to do. You think you understand something and then discover a new fact that changes your understanding completely. I like the way thinking and talking with other people is so powerful at creating new ideas and therapies.”
In the 2014 Queen's Birthday honors list Graham was made a companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to science and medicine.
The other interests in Graham’s life revolve around family, books, movies, tramping, road trips and music.
This article is based on information current in 2010.