I initially began my tertiary education looking to study zoology, however gradually drifted towards molecular biology in search of more thorough answers. I completed my PhD studying Plant Biotechnology before a post-doc with David Jans at Monash University looking at how viruses subvert nuclear transport to facilitate infection. In collaboration with local and international research groups, we identified anti-viral compounds through computational, high-throughput, and SAR-based screens.
This time instilled in me a fascination with the unique ways pathogens have found to manipulate host cells during infection, often managing to produce large scale changes in cellular function while simultaneously avoiding, and often preventing, premature cell death. Beyond targeting these mechanisms for the development of novel therapeutics, the potential to repurpose these pathogenic factors as molecular biology tools or treatments for other diseases is also of great interest.
I am now working in the lab of Hayley Newton, studying the obligate intracellular pathogen and causative agent of Q fever, Coxiella Burnetii. Coxiella replicates inside specialised lysosomal vacuoles, thriving in the extreme conditions. This bacteria uses a suite of >100 effector proteins to significantly modify the host while avoiding cell death. Just how the effectors accomplish this is largely unknown, however, and we are continuing to expose the complex and interconnected mechanisms of Coxiella pathogenesis.
- Contact Details
Current Research Focus
Exploring Coxiella effector proteins
Field of Research Description 60502 Infectious Agents 60501 Bacteriology
- Cell culture
- Fluorescence microscopy
- Molecular biology
- Cell biology
Looking to collaborate?
I am keen to work with anyone who has a quirky virulence factor or pathogen that they are looking to explore using molecular biology, imaging, and cell culture techniques. For my own work, I am looking for researchers with experience studying protein structure and function, and am always interested in learning new imaging approaches.