Professor William Rawlinson AM 

Professor William Rawlinson AM1990 Menzies Scholar in Medicine


Other awards and achievements

2011 Awarded an AM for "service to the medical sciences as a clinician, educator and researcher in the disciplines of virology and pathology"
1997 Australian Society for Infectious Diseases Award
1995 Glaxo award for advanced research in infectious diseases
1993 Research associateship, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge
1992 The Eric de Bunsen award, King's College (Cambridge, UK)
1989-93 Overseas Research Students ORS award, Committee of vice-chancellors and principals of the universities of the UK (University of Cambridge)
1989 King's College external studentship (Cambridge, UK)
1989 Royal Australasian College of Physicians MSD fellowship in Infectious Diseases
1983 Most valuable intern - Concord Hospital
1979 BSc(Med) student research award (Eli-Lilly)


1997-2002 Graduate Certificate of Management (GCM) component of the Executive MBA program, Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM), University of NSW
1996 Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia
1993 Postdoctoral scientist, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge and Division of Virology, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge.
1991 Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians
1989-93 PhD student, University of Cambridge, U.K. Thesis: Studies of the Genomes of HCMV and MCMV
1979-82 Bachelor of Science (Medicine), University of Sydney. Thesis: The HLA system and leprosy.
1979 Department of Immunology, Sydney University & East Arm Leprosy Hospital Darwin
1976-82 Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery; University of Sydney
1971-76 Pennant Hills High School, Higher School Certificate

Current positions
Senior Medical Virologist, South East Health
Associate Professor, University of NSW School of Medical Sciences and School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences
Associate Professor (Adjunct) University of Technology (Sydney)

Original Articles, Reviews and Reports - more than 100
Published Abstracts - 42
Sequence Submissions to Databases - 4
Abstracts - 112

Professional/Other affiliations
Editorial Boards:
2004 Microbiology Australia
2002 Microbiology Australia
2000 Pathology – Journal of the Royal College of Pathologists, Australia (continuing)

Advisory Boards:
2003 SARS Diagnostic Development Advisory Committee
NSW Dept of Health SARS Taskforce
Member of the Therapeutic Goods Committee (TGC) in the capacity as expert in microbiology and virology
Member of NSW Dept of Health Blood-borne Virus Advisory Group
Public Health Laboratory Network
Commonwealth Vaccine Group (VIG)
WHO Dept of Health Enteric Diseases Advisory Committee

Areas of Professional Interest - Research
The focus of my research group is on the molecular biology of viruses. We have worked on herpesviruses, particularly cytomegalovirus, and secondly on hepatitis viruses (HBV, HCV and HGV). Since starting work on human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) in 1989, my research has concentrated on how HCMV grows in cells, and what are the best points for control of growth of the virus, using both vaccines and antiviral agents. Laboratory strains of HCMV (such as strain AD169) have different phenotypes to clinical isolates. The more recent work has been determining variations in the genotype (DNA) that are associated with the varying phenotypes of HCMV from infected patients and the function of the protein kinase of HCMV. HCMV is only able to infect humans and it became evident that our studies of HCMV mutants for use in vaccine studies, could best be done in parallel with an animal model for HCMV infection of humans. As considerable work has been done by others on the phenotypes of murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV), we completed a project to sequence the laboratory adapted strain of MCMV (Smith strain) in order to provide more information about MCMV at a genetic level. The MCMV model has provided ongoing collaborations with Australian and overseas laboratories. Analysis of the MCMV genome has identified 70 genes that are very similar in HCMV and MCMV. These include two homologues of cellular genes, and a homologue of the HCMV protein kinase responsible for phosphorylation of some antiviral agents such as ganciclovir. The future use of the murine model as a vector in which mutated HCMV genes may be inserted will be a significant step forward in allowing in vivo studies prior to assessment of the mutants as potential vaccine candidates.

The second major recent research work has been on the molecular biology of Hepatitis C (HCV) and Hepatitis G (HGV) viruses. The work recently has concentrated on analysing glycoproteins of HCV, and distinguishing the importance of genotype in different HCV clinical infections. We recently published work on mixed infection (i.e. infection with dual genotypes) and the relationship between this and pathogenesis of infection in the host.

The third area of work has been on a number of collaborative projects, broadly relating to the pathogenesis of viral illness. We have recently described in a skid mouse model the transmission of endogenous retroviruses from porcine tissue to mouse tissue – the first such description in the world. We have also explored the role of enteroviruses in the pathogenesis of Juvenile Diabetes Mellitus, and increasing the knowledge of enterovirus subtypes and the role in infection through this work.

We are continuing to investigate mRNA splicing in cytomegaloviruses, antiviral resistance of herpesviruses, glycoproteins of hepatitis viruses, and retroviruses of eukaryotes.

In the longer term, the studies have resulted in more detailed virological and molecular information about DNA and RNA viruses. The work has allowed the dissection of some of the mechanisms viral resistance, and basic information about the biology viruses.

The overall focus of the laboratory is to understand better the pathogenesis of RNA and DNA viruses. In our work, we have aimed to use molecular tools available to us to investigate the number of important virological problems. The work to date has provided important, internationally recognised data relating to the pathogenesis of cytomegalovirus infections, the relationship of mixed viral infection to pathology, the importance of endogenous retroviruses in xenotransplantation, and the role of the glycoproteins of hepatitis viruses in pathogenesis.