Professor McKinnon is Associate Dean research in the School of Medicine and Director of the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer at Flinders University. A pharmacist by training, he has broad research interests including drug discovery and development, pharmacogenomics and precision oncology. He has over 460 research outputs including full 150 research manuscripts and holds multiple patent families His research programmes have attracted more than AUD 25.5 million. He holds Adjunct Professorial positions at UniSA and Monash University.
At UniSA, he was Director of the Centre for Pharmaceutical Research (now CPR Pharma Services), an internationally recognised provider of bioanalytical and clinical services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. In 2005, he was appointed as inaugural Director of the Sansom Institute. He is co-founder of PharmaQest to develop a novel skin cancer chemopreventive and co-inventor of other intellectual property including the isolation of novel anti-inflammatory compounds (and plant extracts). Professor McKinnon served as President of the Australasian Pharmaceutical Sciences Association (APSA) for two terms and was awarded the APSA Medal in 2011. He was also honoured that year by AusBiotech, delivering the prestigious Nancy Millis Oration. He was a member of the Australian NHMRC Academy in 2010 and 2011 and elected to the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2016.
In 2010, Professor McKinnon served as National Facilitator for the $35 million Australian Federal Government Translating Health Discovery into Clinical Applications Super Science Project. This project led to the establishment of Therapeutic Innovaiton Australia and the development of major new infrastructure facilitating the accelerated development of pharmaceuticals in Australia. Professor McKinnon is heavily engaged with FIP as a Vice-President. he was an inaugural member of the FIP-Ed steering committee and as Chair of the 2014 Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress in Melbourne. He was awarded FIP Fellowship in 2014.