Following her PhD at the University of Melbourne, Professor Kelso undertook research in immunology at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. From 2000 until 2006, she was also Director/CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Vaccine Technology. She then returned to Melbourne as Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza from 2007 until she took up her role with NHMRC in April 2015. She was appointed Officer in the Order of Australia in June 2007 for service to science.
Professor Kelso is a member of several Government and international committees, including the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (advising the Minister for Health on the strategy and priorities for the Medical Research Future Fund), the Board of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases and the Board of Trustees of the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization.