Alumni profile

Dr Simon McIlroy

PhD (Applied Science) (Pharmacy), 2011

Expert researcher in microbiology

As a young researcher, Dr Simon McIlroy is already considered an expert in the field of microbiology of wastewater treatment systems.

Simon has dedicated his research career to the study of the microbiology of wastewater treatment systems and also bioenergy systems.

“I’d always been interested in Europe and studying abroad and [Professor Per Halkjær Nielsen] at Aalborg University runs one of the best groups in the world in my field of research," Simon said.

"When he offered me a position I took the opportunity."

Simon has made several important discoveries, including the first genome sequences from several organisms important to wastewater treatment and the very first physiological information from a previously uncharacterised bacterial phylum. 

In 2015, Simon received a Sapere Aude Research Talent Award from the Danish Research Council. The award included $100,000 AUD for his research and was presented by the Danish Minister for Research and Innovation at a ceremony attended by Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

“I was selected for [the award] because of my contribution to my field of research at an early stage of my career," Simon said.

"It was a pleasant surprise to win the award. I felt very honoured to be selected for the award, especially in a country that wasn’t my own."

Simon has published more than 50 research articles in international peer reviewed journals, with an impressive 16 published from his time as a PhD student, and contributed to several scholarly book chapters.

While studying at La Trobe, Simon was recognised with the David Myers University Medal for the most outstanding student in the Faculty of Regional Development, Bendigo campus.

Simon credits La Trobe with assisting in the success of his promising career. 

“What I’ve achieved in my career thus far ... can be attributed to my lecturers at La Trobe, especially my PhD supervisor [Professor Robert Seviour], who taught me a lot about what it is to be a research scientist," he said.

I was always provided with a challenge. It didn’t matter what I had done or what I knew, you could always learn more.

“I have a lot of fond memories of my time at La Trobe, mainly associated with the people that I had the privilege of working and studying with. I also met my wife at La Trobe, so we share a lot of memories together.”

Distinguished Science

Last updated: 8th May 2019