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Critical Infection

Improving diagnosis and treament
We aim to improve healthcare systems, patient safety and management of critical infections. We integrate innovative clinical, scientific and biotechnological solutions for diagnosis, surveillance and management.

About us

The critically ill are the most vulnerable people in our health system and their care is highly resource intensive. Most admissions to intensive care units are precipitated or complicated by infection, which is the most common cause of preventable mortality and adds billions of dollars to the annual cost of health care. 

We work on severe infections in the critically ill, and the ecology and genetics of antibiotic resistance. We're developing tools for real-time diagnosis, tracking of specific pathogens, and developing next-generation informatics to tailor prescribing for individuals, improve hospital infection control and track outbreaks of highly transmissible or antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

We are finding new ways to manage major infection risk by selective modification of human bacterial ecosystems. We're also committed to translating our research into effective practice and policy. 

We're based at the Westmead Millenium Institute for Medical Research.


  • A world first trial is underway in Sydney which could hold the key to tackling antibiotic resistant superbugs
    Researchers at Westmead Hospital have developed a new way to use viruses to treat potentially deadly bacterial infections - Nina Stevens, Channel 7, Watch now
  • Australian Society for Microbiology annual scientific meeting in Queensland
    Presenter: Alma Wu is a first-year PhD student at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research
    Poster title: Functional diversity of toxin-antitoxin systems in antibiotic resistance plasmids in enterobacteriaceae
  • Sydney Health Partners website launched
    This an important first step in telling the story of Sydney Health Partners to the wider community, and demonstrating how our partnership brings together world leading researchers and clinicians to transform the way research improves the health of our patients and communities.

Our research

Infectious diseases are a leading cause of death worldwide with new infectious agents emerging each year. Our researchers seek to understand the body’s immune responses to infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. The study of infectious diseases and immunology at the Sydney Medical School covers laboratory, clinic and population studies, and involves all organ systems and crosses all medical specialties. Our current research projects include:

Antimicrobial resistance

  • Plasmid specialisation modules, microbial husbandry and microbiome resilience
  • Research team: Jon Iredell, Muhammad Kamruzzaman, Sally Partridge, Alicia Farjaro-Lubian, Nouri Ben Zakour, Qi Qin, Alma Wu, Ali Khalid


  • Eradication of high-risk bacterial clones using bacteriophages
  • Research team: Jon Iredell, Carola Venturini, Nouri Ben Zakour, Bethany Bowring
  • Treatment of severe staphylococcus aureus infections with bacteriophage therapy
  • Research team: Jon Iredell, Ruby Lin, Aleksandra Petrovic Fabijan, Josephine Ho


  • Antibiotic resistance and the ecological effects of selective decontamination of the digestive tract in intensive care units
  • Research team: Jon Iredell, Sally Partridge, Belinda Roychoudhry, Lee Thomas and Josephine Ho

Biobank (coming soon)

Translation of our findings into policy and practice will flow through our established networks and roles of the investigators on key committees of government and professional societies.

Study options

The University offers a range of research opportunites to help you pursue your passion. Research in the discipline covers laboratory, clinic and population studies; it involves all organ systems and crosses all medical specialties. You can undertake a:

You can view a full list of research projects in critical infection by visiting Research Supervisor Connect at the University of Sydney.

To learn more about research opportunities in the Faculty of Medicine and Health visit our postgraduate research page.

We welcome applications from postdoctoral research candidates. Candidates need to have excellent English skills and a strong research background relevant to one or more of our current research projects.

Please email with your:

  • CV
  • referee list
  • research outline.

This information will help us to try and link you with suitable research groups.

View more current research opportunities or learn more about postgraduate research in the Faculty of Medicine and Health.

Professional development and short courses

The Discipline of Critical Infection offers short courses at varying locations throughout the year. We welcome critical care and infection specialists in medicine, nursing and pharmacy to be part of case discussions and updates of all things relevant to severe and life-threatening infection.

Previous topics have ranged from:

  • infection control and antimicrobial stewardship
  • opportunistic infection and the immunocompromised host
  • soft tissue infections in the ICU
  • case studies from the emergency department and the intensive care unit.

We will relesase our schedule of short courses for 2019 soon.

For more information on professional development and short courses in medicine and health please visit the Sydney Medical School short courses section.

Research Group Leader

Jonathan Iredell
Professor Jonathan Iredell
View academic profile

Contact us

  • Level 4, Westmead Millennium Institute, 176 Hawkesbury Road, Westmead NSW 2145