Professor Raina MacIntyre (MBBS Hons 1, FRACP, FAFPHM, M App Epid, PhD) is NHMRC Leadership 3 Fellow and Professor of Global Biosecurity. She heads the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute, which conducts research in epidemiology, vaccinology, bioterrorism prevention, mathematical modelling, genetic epidemiology, public health and clinical trials in infectious diseases. As of the start of 2023, she is the #1 ranked researcher in the world on Respiratory Protective Devices and highly ranked in Smallpox and several other areas of infectious diseases (Expertscape). Her H index is 75/56 (GS/Scopus) with >23,000/>11,100 citations (GS/Scopus). FWCI: 3.69 since 2011, 4.7 since 2020, 30.46 for topic influenza and 18.8 citations per publication in the past 5 years. She has 21.4% of her publications in the top 10% most cited papers (Scopus) in the past 5 years. In 2020 a quote from her invited editorial on masks was featured on the cover of Lancet (Vol 195 June 27 2020), reflecting her global recognition as an expert in masks. Lancet Infectious Diseases published a profile of her in 2021 (VOL 21:4, P468, APRIL 01, 2021).
Her research falls under 4 areas: Personal protective equipment, Vaccinology, Epidemic response and emerging infectious diseases, and Bioterrorism prevention. She is a dual-specialist physician with training in epidemiology and modelling. Her research is underpinned by her clinical training, vaccine program experience and extensive field outbreak investigation and surveillance experience. She is currently on the WHO Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC), WHO SAGE ad-hoc Working Group on Smallpox and Monkeypox, and is the focal point for WHO GOARN in the ARM Network and UNSW GOARN member groups. She has developed an automated rapid epidemic intelligence platform, EPIWATCH, which uses AI to scan open source data for early epidemic signals. She leads a team of analysts, epidemiologists and software engineers to further develop EPIWATCH into a global hub of epidemic detection, prevention and mitigation, with a suite of real-time decision support and risk analysis tools. A philanthropic gift from Vitalik Buterin’s Balvi Filantropic Fund in 2022 has allowed her to expand on EPIWATCH globally in low and middle income countries, making EPIWATCH accessible and equitable. This is called the Shiba Inu EPIWATCH OSINT project and is focused on open-sourcing of EPIWATCH.
Raina has a 31-year track record in pandemics, epidemic infections, serious emerging infections, vaccines and control of respiratory viruses. She has worked as a clinician in hospitals, in health departments on outbreak control, and her PhD research was on screening, surveillance and contact tracing for TB and involved detailed tracking of the risk of infection in high risk contacts. She worked for 15 years at the National Centre for Immunisation Research, and has conducted many vaccine clinical trials and has expertise in vaccinology and vaccine programs, especially vaccination of adults, at-risk and immunosuppressed populations.
She is a graduate of the Australian Field Epidemiology Training program, the MAE at ANU, and has extensive experience in shoe-leather epidemiology of infectious diseases outbreaks. Her in-depth understanding of the science of outbreak investigation draws from this experience combined with her academic training through a Masters and PhD in Epidemiology. She is best known for research in the detailed understanding of the transmission dynamics and prevention of infectious diseases, particularly respiratory pathogens such as influenza, tuberculosis, bioterrorism agents and vaccine-preventable infections. She has led the largest body of research internationally on face masks and respirators in health care workers. Her research has been influential in informing guidelines for health workers on PPE. She has extensive expertise in vaccination programs, with a particular interest in adult vaccination with a focus on the elderly and vaccines for bioterrorism. Specific vaccination interests include influenza, pneumococcal disease, HPV, smallpox, herpes zoster and SARS-CoV2. She has done a body of work on vaccine effectiveness of influenza vaccine against myocardial infarction. She led a NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in immunisation for high risk populations, a vaccine research centre focused on adult and high-risk group vaccination. Her face mask research has focused on health care workers and hospitals. She does cross-disciplinary research on aerosol dynamics and movement of respiratory droplets, in collaboration with aerospace and fluid mechanics engineers at UNSW, and on development of novel masks and re-usable materials. She has also done research on using risk-analysis methods for analysing the origins of emerging infectious diseases outbreaks and is a leader in new approaches to biosecurity through cross-disciplinary response and emerging threats to health security. She is involved in several research studies on COVID-19. She also designed and co-convened a course, Bioterrorism and Health Intelligence, taken by students at UNSW and ASU. She has led a smallpox pandemic simulation (Exercise Mataika, 2018 and Pacific Eclipse, 2019) in Australia and the US, which underpinned by modelling research and covers issues such as surveillance, diagnosis, health system capacity, mass quarantine, maritime transport and infected cruise ships, travel bans and the foundations of epidemic control. An online version of this, Unknown Biothreat Simulation, can be done as a self-paced exercise.
She currently leads a cross-disciplinary NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence, BREATHE, on mitigation of airborne threats to health. She led a Centre for Research Excellence in Epidemic Response, ISER from 2016-2020. She has over 450 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Her passion for field epidemiology led her to co-found the ARM network for Australian outbreak response. She is currently on the Global Accreditation Board for TEPHINET, the network of global field epidemiology programs.
She also has an interest in the ethics of medicine, and specifically in dual-use research of concern, has been on the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) committee for developing Guidelines For Responsible Conduct in Veterinary Research Identifying, Assessing and Managing Dual Use Research, and is a member of Biosafety Now. She has research collaborations across the PLuS Alliance, with researchers from Arizona State University and Kings College London, and has an adjunct appointments at The College of Public Affairs and Community Solutions and the College of Health Solutions at ASU. She started a new cross-disciplinary journal, published by UNSW, Global Biosecurity, launched in February 2019. She published her first book, Dark Winter - An insider’s guide to pandemics and biosecurity in 2022, which conveys her knowledge and concerns about biosecurity in lay language for non-expert readers.
See Google scholar profile
o She won many career awards including the Sir Henry Wellcome Medal and Prize, from the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States in 2007 for her work on a risk-priority scoring system for category A bioterrorism agents; the Eureka Prize for Leadership and Innovation in Science in 2022 and the highest national award in infectious diseases, the Frank Fenner Award for Research in Infectious Diseases in 2003. She was a finalist in the 2021, 2020 and 2017 Eureka Prizes. In 2021 she received The Women’s Agenda Leadership Award - Frontline Hero and UNSW Medicine Value in Action Award for Impact. She won the CAPHIA Research Team Prize in 2017, The Public Health Association of Australia National Immunisation Achievement Award in 2014, and also the Peter Baume Public Health Impact Prize in 2014. In 2012 she won the UNSW Medicine Dean's award for outstanding achievement, the highest award in the faculty of Medicine. She has previously held a NHMRC PhD scholarship and a NHMRC Career Development Award, and been a Harkness Fellow. She spent her Harkness fellowship studying the transmission of tuberculosis in prisons in the US, at Johns Hopkins University.
o She has published the largest body of clinical trials of face masks in prevention of respiratory infections for health workers internationally, which has been a major new contribution to knowledge for pandemic planning.
o She is an expert in outbreak detection and mitigation, including that arising from bioterrorism and biological warfare, with a deep understanding of epidemic control at the population level. She is a leading global expert on smallpox.
o She initiated and led the creation, funding and training of the Network of Infectious Diseases Modellers of Australia through a NHMRC CBG in Population Health. This is a national network spanning three states and five Universities, which has had a prolific research output. She is interested in applying risk analysis methods to public health.
o She leads a large program of vaccination clinical research, including studies in frail elderly vaccinology and in immunosuppressed populations such as bone marrow transplant recipients.
Memberships & Professional Activities
- WHO SAGE Ad Hoc Working Group on Smallpox and Mpox (2022)
- WHO Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC) 2021-current (member)
United States National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Committee on public health interventions and countermeasures for advancing pandemic and seasonal influenza preparedness and response. Member, 2021.
- Member, NHMRC National COVID-19 Health and Research Advisory Committee 2020-2021
- Member, NSW Health COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group 2020-2021
- Member, Group of 8 advisory group on social distancing for COVID-19, 2020
- Member, Global Accreditation Board, TEPHINET 2017-current
- Member, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Ad Hoc Committee on Guidelines for Managing Dual Use Research 2018.
- Fellow, Royal Society of NSW (elected 2016)
- Member, Australian Infection Prevention & Control Ebola Expert Advisory Group - 2014
- Member, WHO SAGE Committee on Varicella and Zoster Vaccine (2013-2014).
- Member, US National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, Committee on Respiratory Protection for Healthcare Workers Against Novel H1N1 Influenza A, 2009.
- Member of Council, Faculty of Public Health Medicine of Australia (2014-18)
- Member, Word Organization of Medical Editors (WAME) (2003-current)
- Member, Australian Society for Infectious Diseases (1998-2013)
- Member, Public Health Association of Australia - PHAA (current)
- One Health Special Interest Group committee, PHAA (current)
- Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- Fellow, Australian Faculty of Public Health Medicine
- Member, Specialist Influenza Advisory Group to the Chief Medical Officer of Australia, 2007-2010
- Member, Pandemic Influenza Advisory Group to the Chief Medical Officer of Australia, 2007-2010
- Member, Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (2007-2009)
- Member, Infectious Diseases Subgroup of the Detention Health Advisory Group, Australia, 2007-.2008
- Member, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Expert Advisory Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (EAGAR) (2005-2008).
- Member, Hepatitis B working party of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on AIDS, STDs and Hepatitis.
- Member, Working Parties for the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation: Influenza, Hepatitis A; Pneumococcal disease; Varicella zoster; Rotavirus
Epidemiology and Infection
Vaccine Council of 100