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Biographical entry Burgess, Margaret Anne (1937 - )


2 September 1937
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Immunologist and Paediatrician


Margaret Burgess is a pre-eminent paediatric researcher who made major contributions of international importance to understanding congenital rubella and its prevention, and to clinical and public health aspects of the control of vaccine-preventable disease. Her research focussed on rubella and measles, and she played a key role in adding varicella vaccine (in 2005) and rotavirus vaccine (in 2007) to National Immunisation Program. With colleagues she proposed the now-regular national serosurvey which examines age-specific prevalence of protective levels of antibodies to vaccine-preventable diseases at population level: this proved to be critical in the evaluation of the national Measles Control Campaign in 1998 under which all Australian primary school children had the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Burgess contributed to public policy on immunisation and infections diseases by serving on a number of advisory boards and committees. She also advocated for strengthened monitoring and reporting of vaccine safety. Burgess wrote over 270 research publications.



Education - MD, University of Sydney
1972 - 1984
Career position - Norman Gregg Senior Research Fellow, Children's Medical Research Institute
Career position - President, Paediatric Research Society of Australia
1984 - 2003
Career position - Senior Staff Physician, Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Sydney
1989 - 1995
Career position - Member, Advisory Committee on Infectious Diseases, Department of Health, New South Wales
1992 - 1998
Career position - Associate Clinical Professor, University of Sydney
1992 - 2003
Career position - Member, Immunisation Advisory Committee, Department of Health, New South Wales
1996 - 2003
Career position - Member, Editorial Board, Communicable Diseases Intelligence
Award - Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
1997 - 2003
Career position - Member, Measles Elimination Advisory Committee
1997 - 2003
Career position - Director, National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases
1997 - 2005
Career position - Member, Communicable Diseases Network of Australia and New Zealand
1998 - 2003
Career position - Professor of Paediatrics and Preventive Medicine, University of Sydney
1998 - 2005
Career position - Member, Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation
1999 - 2002
Career position - Member, Strategic Advisory Group of Experts for Vaccines and Biologicals, World Health Organization
2000 - 2005
Career position - Chair, Working Party on Varicella, Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation
2003 -
Career position - Emeritus Consultant Physician, Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Sydney
Award - Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to public health in Australia and overseas, particularly through the provision of policy advice to government and through undertaking research into vaccine preventable diseases and the control of infectious diseases, and to paediatrics.
Award - Howard Williams Medal, Royal Australasian College of Physicians

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Published resources

Journal Articles

  • McIntyre, Peter B. and Forrest, Jill M., 'Margaret Anne Burgess: a remarkable paediatrician who pioneered research into vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases in Australia', Medical Journal of Australia, 204 (10) (2016), 389-91. Details

Helen Cohn