Finlay Macrae

Photo of Finlay MacraeProfessor Finlay Macrae, AO, MBBS, MD, FRACP, FRCP, AGAF, MWGO is Principal Fellow and Professor at the Dept of Medicine at the University of Melbourne’s Royal Melbourne Hospital, Head of Colorectal Medicine and Genetics at Royal Melbourne Hospital, and Sessional Principal Specialist Gastroenterologist at the Dept of Gastroenterology at Royal Melbourne Hospital.

His honours are a Distinguished Service Medal from the Gastroenterological Society of Australia 1999, Master of the World Gastroenterology Organization 2016, and Order of Australia 2017.

Professor Macrae has had a career in translational and clinical research focusing on diseases of the large bowel especially with regard to screening and familial risk and prevention of colorectal cancer.

Screening and diagnostic strategies for colorectal cancer have been a focus of his interest, especially in high risk groups. His MD thesis captured patterns of bleeding from colorectal cancers and adenomas, providing a rationale for the FOBT approach to population since introduced as the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
Primary prevention of colorectal cancer through dietary strategies is a difficult clinical research area; he has grasped this challenge by leading randomized controlled trials of dietary and chemo-prevention in high risk participants, leading to a recognition that the classic randomized controlled trial methodology can be applied in the clinical science of prevention. He has lead the CaPP trials in Australia.

As a lead clinician in the Familial Cancer Clinic at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, he is engaged in a range of research genetic predisposition projects including SNP based Genome Wide Association studies, candidate gene searches in hyperplastic polyposis and multiple adenoma presentations, and screening by MR colonography in mismatch repair gene carriers.

Since 2007, he has partnered with Professor Cotton to drive the aims of the Human Variome Project. Positioned as Secretary to the International Society of Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumours, he has drawn together widespread international alignment of the stakeholders in hereditary cancer towards this goal and manages the InSiGHT DNA variant databases from Melbourne. He has been a member of the Steering Committee for the US Colon Family Register for over 10 years.