Professor Foote received his MBBS and PhD from the University of Melbourne and his DSc from the University of Tasmania. He did his postdoctoral training at the Whitehead Institute at MIT, Massachusetts and has worked as Division Head at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne and Director at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania.
Foote is interested in the genetic control of susceptibility to disease, with particular focus on infectious disease. His laboratory has identified loci governing the response to leishmaniasis and malaria. However the major focus of the laboratory is on trying to identify new drugs to combat malaria. By using the example of natural mutations that affect the red cell and making it difficult for the parasite to grow, his laboratory has found genes, that when mutated, prevent growth of malarial parasites. These genetic changes point the way to the creation of a new type of treatment that will be steadfast against the development of drug resistance. His laboratory is also interested in the genetic susceptibility to other diseases of humans. He is currently working on investigating the reasons that renal disease is so common in Aboriginal communities and in the genetic changes that underpin the familial nature of some of the common cancers.