Our People

Academic Staff

Assoc Professor Mark Krockenberger
The Host-Pathogen-Environment interactions of cryptococcosis, diseases of koalas

Dr Damien Higgins
Wildlife disease ecology and immunopathology, koala chlamydial disease

Assoc Professor Merran Govendir
Veterinary pharmacology

Emeritus Professor Paul Canfield
Pathogenesis of wildlife diseases

Dr Richard Malik
Veterinary medicine

Dr Susan Hemsley
Marsupial anatomy and immunology


Iona Maher
Iona completed a science degree in 1996 at the University of Sydney majoring in botany and zoology with an honours project in fire ecology before studying Veterinary Science. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 2002 and worked in mixed and small animal practice. Following a residency in Veterinary Clinical Pathology at the University of Bristol, she worked in a veterinary pathology lab in Devon, UK. She became a diplomat of the European College of Veterinary Clinical Pathology in 2011 and returned to Australia in 2012 to begin a PhD on the effects of Koala retrovirus on the koala immune system with KIDReG. Iona has published in a number of international journals and has been an invited speaker at international conferences. She is a member of the European Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathology and the Wildlife Disease Association.

Caroline Marschner
Caroline joined KIDReG in 2013. After studying biology in Germany for two years she moved to Austria and graduated in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Vienna in 2012. Her passion for wildlife was very obvious right from the beginning of her career and, during her studies, she visited multiple wildlife institutions throughout the world, such as the Vancouver Aquarium, Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital and also the Avian, Reptile and Exotic Pet Hospital at the University of Sydney. After graduating she decided to come back to Australia and started her PhD project on koala’s adaptation to plant toxins with KIDReG.

Benjamin Kimble
Benjamin Kimble is nearing completion of his PhD on xenobiotic metabolism in the koala. His work has explain many aspects of the koala’s ability to metabolise therapeutc drugs and has uncovered fascinating information on the pathways koalas, and some other folivorous species, have evolved in order to detoxify their diet. The methods he has developed will be invaluable in ongoing studies evaluating other drugs, and the tolerance of koalas and other folivorous marsupials to dietary changes.

Lisa Black
PhD thesis (2014) “'Aspects of the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of chloramphenicol, enrofloxacin and fluconazole in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)”

PhD Students

Dr Nathan Saul
PhD thesis (2009) Ecology, molecular epidemiology and population genetics of Cryptococcus gattii in Australia

Dr Sarah Jobbins
PhD thesis (2010) Further insights into the adaptive immune response of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

Dr Joanna Griffith
PhD thesis (2010) Studies into the diagnosis, treatment and management of chlamydiosis in koalas.

Dr Quintin Lau
PhD thesis (2012) “Diversity and expression of major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII) of koalas”
Quintin graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Animal Science in 2006 and recently completed his PhD within KIDReG. His overall thesis investigated the major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII) genes of the koala; an important component of the adaptive immune response. He developed methods to identify cellular expression and upregulation of MHCII in koala lymphocytes, characterised koala MHCII genes, and described their diversity in populations across Australia and their associations with chlamydial disease. Within KIDReG, Quintin has developed skills in PCR, molecular cloning, flow cytometry, cell culture, bioinformatics and phylogenetics. He has a keen interest in the host-pathogen-environment interaction, especially in regards to animal biology, infectious diseases, host responses, molecular biology and genetics.