Professor acknowledged

The contribution to research by recently retired La Trobe University Professor of Microbiology, Bob Seviour has been acknowledged with an Emeritus Professor status. 

Emeritus Professor Bob Seviour
Emeritus Professor Bob Seviour, a former Professor of Microbiology at La Trobe University Bendigo, has recently retired after 35 years. He was a founding member of the Biotechnology Research Centre established at the Bendigo campus in 1989.

Among the discoveries made by the centre is a bacterium named after the city of Bendigo. The bacterium, Tessaracoccus bendigoensis, plays an important role in phosphorus removal in wastewater treatment systems. A series of novel antibiotics, Bendigoles A-C, have also been discovered from another bacterium Gordonia australis, isolated from the Bendigo wastewater treatment plant.  

Research workers from around the world have spent time in Bendigo working with Emeritus Professor Seviour’s group, taking advantage of the excellent research facilities here to acquire skills in molecular microbiology and fermentation technology.

As a result, Emeritus Professor Seviour and several of his colleagues have been instrumental in establishing La Trobe University’s international reputation as a leading research facility into fermentation and enzyme technology and especially wastewater treatment. The work of the centre has been presented at major conferences in Australia and overseas, and Professor Seviour has been invited as a visiting Professor to several prestigious universities including the University of Tokyo.

Many previously unknown but seemingly important bacteria that have been isolated and described from wastewater treatment plants by the Bendigo group are now being studied by researchers in other countries in attempts to understand wastewater treatment processes better.  
More than $4 million has been obtained from competitive government granting bodies like the Australian Research Council and industry to support Emeritus Professor Seviour’s work at La Trobe University.

PhD and Master of Science students mostly from central Victoria, and postdoctoral fellows have carried out much of the research at the centre.  Emeritus Professor Seviour believes that the establishment of the centre has provided an opportunity which might otherwise not have been available to these students to pursue research based careers.
 ‘The centre has enabled local students to carry out world class PhD research and help put Bendigo on the international scientific map,’ said Emeritus Professor Seviour.

‘As testament to the calibre of the research at La Trobe University, many of these students now hold senior positions in universities and research laboratories around the world.’

Emeritus Professor Seviour is on the editorial board of several international microbiology journals and has published more than 200 papers in international refereed journals.  He has also edited two advanced reference books on the microbial ecology of wastewater treatment, which were published internationally.

Emeritus Professor Seviour’s farewell was attended by many of his former PhD students, who returned to talk about the time they spent here and how it helped in their future professional activities.

Also present were many of Emeritus Professor Seviour’s collaborators and several eminent microbiologists including Professor Nancy Millis, former Chancellor of La Trobe University, and Professor Ron Bayly, from Monash University. Dr Tadashi Nittami who spent 10 months with Emeritus Professor Seviour’s group as a research fellow flew from Tokyo for the occasion, and many other colleagues came from interstate.

Media enquiries

Emeritus Professor Bob Seviour, M 0439 892 466


Zerin Knight, Ph (03) 5444 7375 F +613 5444 7526 M 0428 463 161