Microbial Genetics

Microbes are both vital and problematic. Without them our world couldn’t exist, but some cause us monumental grief. Understanding microbes helps us manage our environment, stay healthy and look after our crops, livestock and food supplies. Researchers in the Microbial Genetics Grouping are using a combination of cutting edge approaches such as metagenomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics, and transfection, with classical methods such as genetic crossing, breeding and microscopy to understand human diseases such as malaria, pathogens that destroy canola crops, processes of development and morphogenesis of fungi, the evolution of photosynthesis, and how algal and bacterial symbionts of corals affect the health of the barrier reef.

Labs / Groups

Research Labs and Groups associated with Microbial Genetics include:

  • Associate Prof. Alex Andrianopoulos
  • Professor Karen Day - Malaria Research

    Contact Prof. Day

    Karen Day runs a malaria research group studying the role that human variation and parasite diversity play in modulating the dynamics of chronic infection, in influencing susceptibility to disease and in regulating transmission from human to mosquito. She is also interested in the ability of malaria parasites to sense their environment by quorum sensing mechanisms to regulate the density of multiple Plasmodium spp infections as well as to initiate the production of transmission stages (gametocytes). The group combines genomics, computational biology and molecular epidemiology approaches to population-based studies of malaria to better improve disease control.

    Key Interests: Parasitology, malaria, genetic epidemiology, microbial genomics, transmission, quorum sensing, gametocytes, antigenic variation.

    Visit website

  • Prof. Meryl Davis
  • Dr Alex Idnurm Molecular biology of fungi
  • Prof. Geoff McFadden - Malaria and endosymbiosis

    Contact Professor McFadden

    Our group is interested in malaria and endosymbiosis - two topics that seem somewhat far apart but are in fact strangely interconnected. Our research has led to a paradigm shift in understanding the malaria parasite. We had a central role in discovering that the malaria parasite is a kind of microscopic plant.  We found the remnants of a plant-like chloroplast in the parasite, which is now providing novel ways to tackle this serious disease and might lead to herbicides being used as drugs against the parasite.

    Visit website

  • Prof. Madeleine van Oppen
  • Dr Heroen Verbruggen