Emerging infectious diseases are one of the great biomedical challenges of the 21st century. Environmental disruption, high population densities of humans, animals and crops, combined with global climate change, migration and rapid global transport networks are creating opportunities for pathogens to dramatically change their host range. In our laboratory we perform in-depth studies of microbial evolution and emergence to determine the evolutionary factors that allow these infectious agents (and other pathogens) to emerge and spread in populations. Ultimately, we hope that this work will enable us to better predict, prevent, and control emerging diseases. Although much of our work is directed toward understanding the fundamental mechanisms of viral evolution, we also consider a variety of other microbial pathogens and our research is both pure and applied. For example, we are involved in research investigating the use of viruses as biocontrol for European rabbits in Australia.

Image courtesy of Ashley Gramza, Colorado State University

We have a well equipped bioinformatics laboratory, but can arrange for interested parties to perform laboratory work at the Westmead Millennium Institute, and as part of the Sydney Emerging Disease and Biosecurity Institute, or with our collaborators at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL). There are also possibilities to spend time working in other laboratories abroad.

Our objective is to develop an innovative and exciting research program that will put Australia at the forefront of research into emerging diseases, by establishing strong links with researchers throughout Australia and in the Asia-Pacific region, and by attracting top young scientists from diverse academic backgrounds to our research team.