Waller: Microbiology Education Scholarship

Research Overview

Dr Karena Waller is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Karena joined the Department’s academic teaching staff in 2010 after completing 15 years in local and international malaria research. Today, Karena contributes significantly to the teaching and learning of microbiology and immunology to second and third year Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Biomedicine students. In addition to her role as lecturer and subject coordinator, Karena is also the Academic Programs Coordinator, Majors Coordinator and the Exchange/Global Mobility Coordinator for the Department. External to the Department, Karena sits on numerous School, Faculty, Institute and University Committees, primarily focusing on teaching and learning, and academic governance.

Key Achievements

Karena completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours in 1994 at Monash University before completing a Doctor of Philosophy in 2001 also at Monash University investigating the protein interactions in malaria-infected red blood cells. After completing five years of post-doctoral research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, USA, Karena was awarded a prestigious NHMRC Howard Florey Fellowship in 2005 to return to Australia to establish an independent malaria research program. Karena has published numerous biomedical and educational (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)) research articles in international, peer-reviewed journals. Karena completed the Graduate Certificate in University Teaching at the University of Melbourne in 2011. Karena’s excellence in teaching and learning has been rewarded with numerous prizes, from both the University and the Australian Society for Microbiology.

Education Scholarship Interests

Karena’s education scholarship interests include improving student learning, outcomes, experiences and engagement in undergraduate Biomedical Sciences, specifically in Microbiology. Karena is also actively involved in improving professional development and mentoring for academic teaching (teaching-focussed) staff.


2017: Australian Society for Microbiology David White Excellent in Teaching Award; $AUD1800

2016: Travel Award, American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators’ (ASMcue); $USD750

2014: Fellow, Australian Society for Microbiology (FASM)

2013: Melbourne Medical School Early Career Development Award; Melbourne Medical School; $AUD2000

2010: Australian Society for Microbiology Teachers’ Travel Award; $AUD1000

2005: NHMRC Howard Florey Centenary Research Fellowship; $AUD171,000

2005: Monash University, Faculty Fellowship Support; $AUD100,000

Professional Societies

2018 – present: Chair, Local Organising Committee (LOC), ASM Scientific Meeting & Trade Exhibition, Melbourne VIC, July 2020

2017 – present: Chair, ASM Education Special Interest Group (ASM Ed SIG)
2017 – present: Chair, ASM EduCon Microbiology Educators’ Conference, 2018 and 2019,

2017 – present: International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), member
2017 – present: Higher Education Academy (UK), member
2017:  Co-Chair, AIMS / ASM Joint Conference (November 2017, Marysville VIC),

2015 – present: Australian Society for Micrbiology (ASM) National Examinations and Qualifications Board (NEQB); committee member

2016:  ASM Bi-State (VIC / TAS) Conference (November 2016, Launceston TAS)

2014 - 2018:  Chair, Victorian Branch of the Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM)
Newsletter Editor, Student Representative to committee, VIC representative for ASM Ed SIG; committee member since 2010.

Selected Research Publications

  • Wang, J. H. T., Huston, M. H., Johanesen, P., Lloyd, M. and Waller, K. L. (2018). A Laboratory Competency Examination in microbiology. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 365(20).
  • Waller, K. L., Barr, D. P., Taylor, P. M. and Wijburg, O. L. (2016). Embedding research ethics and integrity into undergraduate practical classes. Microbiology Australia, 37(2):76-80.
  • Burke, C., Cain, H., Coleman, N., Grando, D., Hughes, M., Johanesen, P., Lategan, J., Lloyd, M., Markham, J., Mohideen, M., Waller, K and Wang, J. (2016). Microbiology Australia, 37(2):93-97.
  • Proellocks, N. I., Coppel, R. L. and Waller, K. L. (2010). Dissecting the Apicomplexan Rhoptry Neck Proteins. Trends Parasitol. 26:297-304.
  • Waller, K. L., Stubberfield, L. M., Dubljevic, V., Mason A. J., Mohandas, N., Cooke, B. M. and Coppel, R. L. (2010). Interaction of the exported malaria protein Pf332 with the Red Blood Cell Membrane Skeleton. Biochim. Biophys. Acta; 1798:861-871.
  • Morahan, B. J., Sallmann, G. B., Huestis, R., Dubljevic, V. and Waller K. L. (2009) Plasmodium falciparum: Genetic and Immunogenic Characterisation of the Rhoptry Neck Protein PfRON4. Exp. Parasitol. 122: 280-288.
  • Proellocks, N. I., Kats, L. M., Sheffield, D. A., Hanssen, E., Black, C. G., Waller, K. L. and Coppel, R. L. (2009). Characterisation of PfRON6, a Plasmodium falciparum rhoptry neck protein with a novel cysteine-rich domain. Int. J. Parasitol. 39: 683-92.
  • Madrid, D. C., Ting, L-M., Waller, K. L., Schramm, V. L. and Kim, K. (2008). Plasmodium falciparum purine nucleoside phosphorylase is critical for viability of malaria parasites. J. Biol. Chem. 283: 35899-35907.
  • Waller, K. L., Kim, K. and McDonald, T. V. (2008). Growth Response of Plasmodium falciparum to Potassium Channel Blocking Compounds. Exp. Parasitol. 120: 280-285.
  • Waller, K. L., McBride, S. M., Kim, K. and McDonald, T. V. (2008). Characterisation of Two Putative Potassium Channels in Plasmodium falciparum. Malaria J. 7: 19-30.

For a full list of Karena’s publications, click here https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8786-4407

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

School Research Themes

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Associate Professor Karena Waller

Department / Centre

Microbiology and Immunology

Unit / Centre

Waller: Microbiology Education Scholarship

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