Misty Jenkins


Misty Jenkins

2009 NHMRC Menzies Fellow

Scholarship biography (at time of award)

Dr Misty Jenkins was awarded the NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellowship to investigate T cells (white blood cells that help fight infections) and how they deliver their ‘lethal hit’ to destroy virally infected cells at the single cell level.

Dr Jenkins will complete her research at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, UK and at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Her research will improve our understanding of how T cells function, which will enable us to identify novel therapeutic targets.

Studied at: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre; Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

Current Biography

Misty is of Gunditjmara descent and was born in Ballarat, where she attended the local public school. She was awarded a scholarship to study Science at The University of Melbourne, where she subsequently graduated with first class honours. Misty worked in a laboratory researching epilepsy, but her real passion was to study the immune system. She was intrigued by infectious disease and was keen to work with influenza virus. She completed her PhD with Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty and Dr Stephen Turner at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne, where she studied how T cells (white blood cells) fight influenza infection. Particularly, the focus of her research is to understand how T cells become armed with the cytotoxic weapons that they use to destroy virally infected cells (and cancerous cells), at the single cell level. This research led her to Oxford University, and then Cambridge University, where she continued her work on T cell killing.

Dr Misty Jenkins is currently a NHMRC fellow and laboratory head at the Walter Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, in Melbourne. Misty researches in the area of immunology and cell biology, and understanding how immune cells kill cancer cells. She has been a Fellow of The University of Cambridge, was the 2012 National Association of Research Fellows Investigator of the year, was awarded the L’Oreal for Women in Science Fellowship in 2013, and was awarded the Tall Poppy of the year award for science (Victoria) in 2015.

In addition to her research career, Misty is a passionate and engaging public speaker about the sciences and is involved with various programs aimed at increasing young people’s enthusiasm for science and education, particularly Indigenous students. She is the ambassador for the Melbourne Poche Centre for indigenous education and consults for the Aurora Project (which set up the Charlie Perkins scholarships for Indigenous students to attend Oxford and Cambridge Universities). Misty also serves on a number of consultative committees, which aim to enhance Indigenous engagement in science.

Scholarship Year: 2009

Fields of Interest

Medicine, Immunology, T Cells