After completing a PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in 1996 on malaria molecular biology and genomics, Justin changed fields to research the genetic basis of human neurological diseases at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford (UK). He was awarded a Howard Florey Post-doctoral Fellowship (Royal Society, London) in 1997 and was instrumental in the discovery of the gene for chorea acanthocytosis. He returned to WEHI in 1999 as Project Leader of the Genes-CRC Tasmanian Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Project and mapped a susceptibility locus for MS in the class I region of the HLA complex.
In 2004, he was awarded an NHMRC Biomedical Career Development Award and in the same year established The Neurogenetics Laboratory at the Howard Florey Institute. From 2007-2009 he led the ANZgene MS Genetics Consortium’s whole genome scan project, which identified CD40 and CYP27B1 as novel susceptibility genes for MS.
In 2009, he was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship, which he declined in order to take a position in the Genetics Division at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK, UK). At GSK, he led a programme of genetic and pharmacogenomic research supporting drug development across the pipeline, with a particular focus on the neuroscience and infectious diseases therapy areas.
In 2015, he returned to Australia to take up a joint appointment in human genetics at The Florey and University of Melbourne (Department of Pathology).
He is currently Chair of the ANZgene MS Genetics Consortium and Co-Chair of the organising committee for the GeneMappers 2017 conference.