Microbial ecology and genomics


The phylogenetic and functional diversity encoded into the genomes of microorganisms drives essential biotic and abiotic functions across all levels.

Microbial ecology studies microorganisms in mixed communities, how microorganisms communities interact with each other and investigates the relationship between microbes and their environment. Our research provides basic understanding across a range of scales from:

  • chemicals
  • cellular components
  • viruses
  • prokaryotes and,
  • eukaryotic cells.

Our research couples molecular biology, DNA technology, genomics, and bioreporter techniques with traditional microbiological methods to investigate microbial communities and the processes by which microorganisms transform materials and energy. Outcomes benefit soil, wastewater, industrial, animal, plant and human health.

Research groups

Antiviral innate immunity and viral genomics

Research leader: Dr. Karla Helbig
Our goal is to tailor cutting edge antiviral therapeutics by harnessing the hosts own immune response.

Cardiovascular physiology

Research leader: Dr. Colleen Thomas
We develop novel therapies (drugs and other strategies) for cardiovascular disease.

Environmental microbial genetics

Research leader: Dr. Steve Petrovski
Our laboratory research interests include three main areas within microbial genetics.

Host-pathogen interactions

Research leader: Dr. Maria Kaparakis Liaskos
We are focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions with particular focus on Helicobacter pylori and bacterial membrane vesicles.

Microbial communities in the environment

Research leader: Associate Professor Ashley Franks
We focus on the study of the structure and function of microbial communities in the environment.

Molecular parasitology

Research leader: Dr. Teresa Carvalho
We identify new molecules that prevent parasite development and design novel anti-parasitic drug treatments.