Committee bio

Dr Boris Novakovic

Dr Boris Novakovic

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute,



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Dr Boris Novakovic is a team leader at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Senior Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne.

Boris studied Science at Monash University and completed his PhD in 2013 at the University of Melbourne, under the supervision of Dr Jeff Craig and Dr Richard Saffery.

In 2014 he used his CJ Martin Fellowship to join the lab of Prof Henk Stunnenberg as a postdoc at the Radboud Institute of Molecular Life Sciences in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. His postdoctoral research was part of the BLUEPRINT Consortium, which contributed reference epigenomes to the International Human Epigenome Consortium (IHEC).

In collaboration with the lab of Prof Mihai Netea, Boris studied how innate immune cells remember stimuli through epigenetic remodelling, a phenomenon called “trained immunity”. The main finding from this period was that a yeast sugar, beta-glucan, can reverse immune-paralysis in monocytes isolated from a human sepsis model. This led to several downstream projects to produce novel immuno-modulatory sugars and identify other compounds that can reverse innate immune tolerance.

Boris returned to Australia in 2018 to apply epigenomic techniques to a range of longitudinal birth cohorts and vaccine clinical trials at the Melbourne Children’s Campus. His research is funded by an NHMRC New Investigator Project Grant in 2018 and an NHMRC Investigator Fellowship in 2019. The primary aim of his team is to understand how differentiated cells internalise signals from the environment at the level of chromatin and how this can influences their subsequent function.

Early in 2008, Sue Clark brought a handful of epigenetics researchers from Australia together to form the Australian Epigenetics Alliance. The AEpiA has now grown to a membership of over 600, with members spanning not only Australasia, but the globe.  In February 2021, our Victorian local organising committee hosted our eighth flagship Epigenetics conference, online for the first time.  Our NSW team is now busy preparing for Epigenetics 2022, which will be held in September in Kingscliff, NSW.