Andrew S. Flies

Cheetah close encounter

Cheetah staring down Andy in the Maasai Mara

How I ended up where I am

My bachelor’s degree was in computer science, with concentrations in math and chemistry. After completing a successful six month internship as a software engineer, I decided to make a career change. I then started my immunology career as a laboratory technician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I then moved to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland with Dr. Lieping Chen. While living in Baltimore I began my ecology training by enrolling in masters level courses in the evenings and on weekends in the Johns Hopkins Advanced Academic Program for Environmental Science and volunteering for the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER. I subsequently completed a dual Ph.D. in Zoology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior at Michigan State University (2013).

I next moved to Adelaide, Australia where my wife Emily Johnston is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of South Australia (UniSA). Upon arriving in Adelaide I began working in the Experimental Therapeutics Laboratory (ETL) under the direction of John Hayball. My initial research with ETL focused on using vaccinia virus-based vaccines. Subsequently, was awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship from the Morris Animal Foundation to develop of treatment for the Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumor (DFT) disease. I have since secured small grants to continue the DFT research. I was also the lead author on successful grants from the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation and Ilhan Foundation to develop treatments for peanut allergies in human animals.

In July 2015 I am moving to Hobart, Tasmania to work at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania to being trialing the monoclonal antibodies targeting CTLA4, PD-1, and B7-H1 that I have recently developed. Stay tuned for results…

Interests and hobbies

My non-academic interests and hobbies have dwindled a bit as my research projects have expanded, but I have managed to hang on to a few things from my undergraduate years in addition to a few new hobbies I have picked up. Exercise is my favorite leisure time activity. I enjoy playing just about any competitive sport from basketball to bowling to yard games. In recent years running has become my preferred form of exercise and in 2012 I complete the Boston Marathon, finishing in 750th place out of more than 22,000 runners. In 2013 my wife and I officially became ultra marathon runners by completing the North Face 100km run in the Blue Mountains of New South Whales in 13 hours and 36 minutes. In October 2014 I ran the Heyson 105km in a time of 12 hours and 23 minutes.

Training for an ultra marathon takes a lot of time, so I try to kill two birds with one stone by listening to podcasts or audiobooks on my long training runs. Reading, particularly novels, history, science books and magazines, and science fiction, is another of my favorite leisure activities. A few years ago I earned my scuba diving open water certification and my most recent endeavor is learning how to play the guitar.


I love to travel the world and luckily my research has allowed me to spend one year living and working Kenya. I have done short backpacking trips in Europe and in parks around the USA. A short trip to Costa Rica in 2010 was one of my favorite trips and Corcovado National Park is amazing. My wife and I, along with her parents, traveled to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup and had a great time exploring the Amazon and Pantanal. I am now excited about exploring my new home in Tasmania!


Emily Johnston Flies