Dr Camilla Whittington

Camilla Whittington

Camilla Whittington | PhD Candidate; Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar
Faculty of Veterinary Science Lab 311, R.M.C. Gunn B19
The University of Sydney NSW 2006

The Genome Center, Washington University School of Medicine
4444 Forest Park Avenue, St Louis MO USA 63108


B Sc Agriculture (Hons I, Medal)

Research Project

Project Supervisor
Associate Supervisors
About the Project

Camilla studies the genetic components of mammalian venom with the aim of building an understanding of toxins from two venomous mammals, the platypus and a shrew. As quantities of mammalian venom available for study are extremely limited, the project is based around the genes that code for the venom proteins. It is hoped that this will allow the identification of toxins expressed in the venom gland, and allow investigation into the evolution of mammalian venom. So far, the research has identified 86 novel venom toxins and multiple examples of convergent evolution of platypus, reptile, and invertebrate venoms. Camilla also works on natural antibiotic peptides called cathelicidins and defensins, and is investigating their role protecting immunologically naive platypus hatchlings against infection.

This work provides insights into the basic biology of these unique animals, as well as paving the way for future development of novel pharmaceuticals from the toxins and antimicrobial peptides identified.

Camilla is a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar and is currently studying overseas at the Washington University School of Medicine.

Selected Publications

Whittington, C.M., Sharp, J.A., Papenfuss, A. & Belov, K. (2009) Two classes of natural antibiotics (cathelicidins and defensins) are not expressed in platypus milk. Australian Journal of Zoology 57, 211-217.

Whittington, C.M. & Belov, K. (2009) Platypus venom genes expressed in non-venom tissues. Australian Journal of Zoology 57, 199-202.

Whittington, C.M., Koh, J.M.S., Warren, W.C., Papenfuss, A.T., Torres, A.M., Kuchel, P.W., Belov, K. (2009) Understanding and utilising mammalian venom via a platypus venom transcriptome. Journal of Proteomics 72 (2),155-64.

Whittington, C.M., Papenfuss, A.T., Bansal, P., Torres, A., Wong, E. S. W., Deakin, J. E., Graves, T., Alsop, A., Schatzkamer, K., Kremitzki, C., Ponting, C. P., Temple-Smith, P., Warren, W. C., Kuchel, P. W. & Belov, K. (2008) Defensins and the convergent evolution of platypus and reptile venom genes. Genome Research 18, 986-994.

Whittington, C.M., Papenfuss, A.T., Kuchel, P.W. & Belov, K. (2008) Expression patterns of platypus defensin and related venom genes across a range of tissue types reveals the possibility of broader functions for OvDLPs than previously suspected. Toxicon 52, 559-565.

Taylor, J., Whittington, C.M., Wilson, R., et al. (2008) Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution. Nature 453, 175-183.

Whittington, C.M. & Belov, K. (2007) Platypus venom: a review. Australian Mammalogy 29, 57-62.