Associate Professor Keith Chappell

Principal Research Fellow

School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
Faculty of Science

Affiliate Senior Research Fellow

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
+61 7 334 63158


I completed my PhD at the University of Queensland in 2007 on the structure and function of flavivirus NS3 protease. Subsequently, I spent three years (2007-2010) as a post-doctoral researcher at one of Spain’s most respected research institutes, Instituto Salud Carlos III, where I conducted research on the Fusion protein of Respiratory Syncytial viurs as a target for conformationally specific neutralizing antibodies. On my return to Australia in 2011 I accepted a position as a post-doctoral research fellow within the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Quensland. My research since 2011 has focused on understanding of many medically and environmentally important viruses and bacteria, including Influenza, Ebola, Koala Retrovirus, Respiratory Syncytial virus (RSV), Dengue virus (Den), West Nile Virus (WNV) and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Research Impacts

I am a molecular virologist primarily focused on subunit vaccine development. I am part of a team that has developed a broadly applicable platform technology, the molecular clamp, which facilitates expression and trimerization soluble viral fusion proteins in their native trimeric 'pre-fusion' form. This form is equivalent to that expressed on the virion surface and the principal target for a protective neutralizing antibody response. To date we have applied the molecular clamp technology to 10 medically significant pathogen. We have demonstrated the induction of a neutralising immune response for Influenza, Respiratory syncytial virus, Nipah virus and Ebola virus and demonstrated protection in animal models of Influenza and Ebola infections. Furthermore, for influenza we have demonstrated that the molecular clamp technology is able to stimulate a superior immune response that is more cross-reactive and protective against divergent strains and subtypes. On the back of the molecular clamp platform, we have brought together a consortium of researchers across several of Australia’s leading scientific research organizations with the aim of developing a streamlined process for the generation of novel subunit vaccines that could be available for emergency response against novel viral epidemics.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science, The University of Queensland


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Book Chapter

  • Chappell, Keith J. and Young, Paul R. (2014). The nonstructural proteins of dengue virus. Dengue and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever: Second Edition. (pp. 377-405) edited by D. J. Gubler, Eng Eong Ooi, Subhash Vasudevan and Jeremy Farrar.Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: CABI International.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision