Dr Linfa Wang, Senior Principal Research Scientist and Project Leader at CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory

Dr Linfa Wang, Senior Principal Research Scientist and Project Leader

Dr Linfa Wang: identifying and characterising new animal viruses

Dr Linfa Wang is an Office of the Chief Executive Science Leader at CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

  • 28 July 2011 | Updated 8 January 2014

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History


Page 1 of 2

Current activities

Dr Wang leads the Emerging Bat Virus group at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), which has the world's largest collection of emerging bat viruses.

Some of these viruses – such as Hendra, Nipah, Melaka, Menangle, and SARS-like coronavirus – cause severe diseases or death in humans and livestock animals.

Dr Wang's team is investigating the interaction of bats and viruses using a range of technologies including:

  • bat genomics
  • reverse genetics
  • cell engineering and
  • animal model studies undertaken in high containment laboratories.


Dr Wang completed his Bachelor degree in 1982 at the East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.

He then went on to complete doctoral and postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Davis, USA.

Dr Wang moved to Australia in 1989 and spent time tutoring biochemistry at Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

He also spent a short time as a Senior Research Officer at the Monash Centre for Molecular Biology and Medicine, before joining CSIRO in 1990.

Academic qualifications

Dr Wang has been awarded a:

  • Bachelor of Science with Honours from the East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
  • Doctor of Philosophy from the University of California, Davis, California, USA.


In 2010 Dr Wang was elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in recognition of his expertise in new and emerging diseases.

Dr Wang played a leading role in identifying bats as the natural host of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus.

In 2006, his research team at AAHL received a CSIRO Award for Excellence in Partnership for establishing a rapid-response global research partnership that was instrumental in identifying the animal reservoir of SARS.

Dr Wang led an Australia-Malaysia collaboration that discovered a novel bat orthoreovirus, the Melaka virus, which can cause an acute respiratory disease in humans.

From 2003 to 2010, Dr Wang led several research projects that were integral to the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease.

In 2012, Dr Wang led an international study which completed a world-first comparative genomic analysis of two bats and revealed important genomic features associated with bat’s adaptation to flight and its DNA damage repair system. 

Dr Wang has published more than 300 scientific publications, many in highly recognised journals including Science, Nature Lancet Infectious Diseases and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Dr Wang holds a number of other honorary positions and memberships, including:

  • Professor and Director, Emerging Infectious Disease Program, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, 2012-present
  • Editor-in-Chief, Virology Journal, 2012-present
  • World Health Organisation SARS Scientific Research Advisory Committee, 2003
  • Honorary Professor, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Science, 2005–present
  • Honorary Professor, East China Normal University, 2011–present
  • Honorary Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, 2009–present
  • WHO International Health Regulations Roster of Experts, 2013-present.

Dr Wang currently serves on seven editorial boards for publications in the areas of:

  • virology
  • molecular biology
  • biotechnology
  • immunotechnology.

Learn more about CSIRO's Emerging Bat Virus team.