Dr Misty Jenkins

NH&MRC Fellow and Laboratory Head at Walter Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research
Melbourne Victoria
Science and Engineering,
Health and Medical
Research Intensive

Dr Misty Jenkins leads a Laboratory in the Immunology Division at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.

From a young age Misty had a joy of discovery, confidently telling her parents in Year 9 that she would be a scientist (or a pop star!) – to which they responded that she should pursue a career where her talents lie! Misty went on to a Bachelor of Science becoming the first in her family to attend University.

On completion of her Honours degree, Misty boldly emailed Nobel Prize winner, Peter Doherty, asking if she could undertake her PhD under his supervision. Not expecting a response, she was shocked to quickly receive Peter’s reply , which resulted in her completing a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology under guidance from Prof Doherty and Prof Stephen Turner. Misty remains a firm believer in creating opportunities and surrounding yourself with amazing mentors who encourage you to be your best.

Following her PhD, Misty secured a federal government NHMRC fellowship to Oxford University - but within 9 months at Oxford the lab was relocated to Cambridge. Misty was given an educational experience that money couldn’t buy and saw the best minds in research collide. It was here that this self confessed ‘girl from the bush’ was suddenly mixing with philosophers, historians, Nobel Laureates and even royalty – something she would have never dreamt of growing up in Ballarat.

On her return to Australia, Misty worked with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for 5 years before joining the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. She’s received many accolades for her research including the 2012 National Association of Research Fellows Investigator of the Year, the L’Oreal for Women in Science Fellowship in 2013, the Tall Poppy of the Year Award for Science (Victoria) in 2015, and was named as the Westpac/Australian Financial Review Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence in 2016.

Misty is an ambitious and passionate research leader. Her extensive experience allows her to guide mentees to develop vision, lead teams and prioritise for impact.

She helps mentees identify what they are seeking to develop and establish a clear plan to achieve it. As an Aboriginal woman, Misty has an indigenous lens on everything she does. She is passionate about gender equity and indigenous health and has been involved in establishing Scholarships for indigenous PhD candidates to study at Oxford and Cambridge through the Aurora Foundation. In addition, Misty is Deputy Chair of the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics, an ambassador for the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Women in Science Australia, and is a Board Director of Monash Health.

Misty loves spending time with her 6-year- old daughter and Scottish husband who are her biggest support and inspiration – always cheering her on as she strives to discover new treatments for cancer.