Emeritus Professor Terry Spithill
After completing a PhD (Biochemistry) at Monash University in 1977, Emeritus Professor Terry Spithill undertook postdoctoral studies at Mahidol University (Thailand), Colorado State University and UCLA (1977-1981). Since 1981, Terry has held positions including Research Scientist at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Parkville; Head of Department at Victorian Institute of Animal Science, Attwood; Associate Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University, Clayton; and Director of the Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, Canada where he also held a prestigious Canada Research Chair in Immunoparasitology (2002-7).
In 2007, Terry returned to Australia as a Strategic Research Professor at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga before joining La Trobe University in December 2010 where he heads the Spithill Lab at AgriBio and continues his work using molecular approaches to develop vaccines or drugs to control parasitic diseases.
Tim is currently completing his PhD at La Trobe University under the supervision of Prof. Spithill. He is working on identifying proteins of Fasciola hepatica that may be ideal vaccine candidates for parasite control. Tim's work involves identifying and comparing which proteins are the targets of resistant and susceptible host immune response, by using a novel immunoproteomic approach using live fluke. Tim is the recipient of a 2016 SoLS Postgraduate Publication Award.
Post Doctoral Fellow
After seven years working in the biotechnology sectors focussed on various areas of human and animal health, Chris returned to study and completed a PhD (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) at Monash University in 2015. The major focus of his PhD study was to identify novel vaccine and diagnostic candidates for Asian schistosomiasis using antibody phage display technology. For his work, Chris received an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) - 2011 - 2015.
Chris' current research is focused around the parasite Fasciola (liver fluke), where he studies areas such as intermediate (snail) host prevalence, generation of drug resistance and development of novel diagnostics techniques to monitor parasite infections.
Jane is currently working on her Doctor of Philosophy with her thesis topic focusing on the epidemiology and management of liver fluke in cattle in irrigated dairy regions of Victoria. Her research has involved quantifying the prevalence of liver fluke on dairy farms. With this, she has directed her research aims to establishing the economic impact on milk production where she hopes her investigations will impact on increasing the productivity and profitability of the dairy industry. Along with her research with the Spithill Lab, Jane takes time to guest lecturer and is a practical demonstrator.
Jane's work has been recognised with a number of scholarships, grants and awards. These include: the Rural Finance Ian Morton Memorial postgraduate scholarship; 2014 Winner of dairy sector Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; 2014 Winner of the Australian Institute of Agriculture National Agricultural Student Award; and 2013 Australian Institute of Agriculture Melbourne Student Prize.
Following the completion of his Masters in Biotechnology at Bharathiar University, India (2006-2008), Vignesh worked as a research fellow at Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Tamilnadu, India. The work involved understanding the innate immune responses in indigenous goat and buffalo breeds to bacterial and viral infections. In 2012, Vignesh obtained the Victoria-India Doctoral Scholarship which led him to work in the Spithill Lab on his PhD investigating the development of novel vaccines for liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica.
Vignesh's research interests include understanding the host-pathogen interactions and development of sustainable control measures such as vaccines to improve livestock health and public health.
Hayley Toet obtained her Bachelor degree in Animal Science with Honours at La Trobe University in 2006. She was awarded a PhD, also at La Trobe, in 2012 for her research on the roles of auto-antigens in the pathogenesis of scabies in pigs. Some of her achievements include the ARC/NHMRC Research Network for Parasitology Researcher Travel Award, the Australian Pork Limited (APL) Student Travel Award recipient and the Dean’s Honour List – For an A grade average over 2002, from La Trobe.
Her research in the Spithill Lab involves characterising exposed surface molecules of the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, using both genomic and proteomic techniques. The long term goal of this research is the development of protective vaccine/s based on recombinant forms of the identified molecules. This research may provide important knowledge of the parasite's biology with practical applications in animal production.