John Lowenthal

By September 19th, 2014


John Lowenthal obtained his PhD in Immunology from the University of Melbourne in 1984. After postdoctoral positions at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Lausanne, Switzerland (1983-86), DNAX Research Institute, California, USA (1986-87); Duke University, North Carolina, USA (1987-89) and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Melbourne (1989-90), he joined CSIRO in 1990 as a Project Leader to establish a new research team to clone and characterise chicken cytokines and assess their potential as therapeutics.

John subsequently built a strong multidisciplinary research team internationally recognised for their expertise in the areas of avian immunology, genomics, vaccines and therapeutics and more recently in RNAi and transgenics. This cutting-edge work culminated in the development and commercialisation of a new generation health product for poultry FAV-ChIFN-γ that will reduce the reliance on in-feed antibiotics, a problem of global significance.

Patents based on his work have been granted (USA, Australia, NZ) and are pending in other countries and have been licensed to Imugene Ltd.

John played a major role in establishing the Poultry CRC in 2003 and was the Manager for its Health Program. He was promoted to Senior Principal Research Scientist in 2004 and appointed Research Program Leader ‘ Novel Strategies for Disease Control in 2007.

He has generated in excess of $11 million in research funding, is an inventor on 20 patent applications and has published over 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Honours and awards

He is recognised as a world-leading researcher in the areas of immunology and cytokine therapy and was elected to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research in 1998 and the Editorial Board of Development and Comparative Immunology in 2000. He is a member of the Australian society for Immunologists, was the founding convenor of the Avian Cytokine Group (in 1996) and was awarded an OEC postdoctoral Fellowship on antiviral therapeutics (2008-11).

In 2002, he was awarded a CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement with Mike Johnson and other team members for the development of fowl adenovirus ‘ chicken interferon gamma as a therapeutic agent for the poultry industry.


  • Lowenthal JW, 2009, Personal communication.
Find out more
  • Development company for antibiotic alternatives, 2002 (Media Release)
  • Imugene Ltd