Lithgow lab members
Professor Trevor Lithgow
Head Principal Research Fellow
Telephone: +61 3 9902 9217
Ms Kher Shing Tan
Telephone: +61 99029203 (lab)/ 29207 (office)
Ms Rebecca Bamert
Telephone: +61 3 9902 9300
Ms Natalia Rosas Bastidas
Telephone: +61 3 9902 9198
Ms Manasa Bharathwaj
Telephone: +61 39902 9199
Dr Rhys Dunstan
Telephone: +61 3 9905 0242
Dr Christopher Stubenrauch
Telephone: +61 3 9905 5392
Thung Tze Young
Telephone: +61 3 9905 8921
Lithgow lab alumni
After finishing my Ph.D. in 1999, I moved to California where I did a post-doc with Randy Schekman looking at the molecular basis of export of proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum. In 2005 I set up my own lab at Columbia University in New York where we continue to probe this problem, with the broader aim of understanding how protein folding influences ER egress. My latest biological experiment is my own F1, a baby boy called Owen.
I had a short stint as a post-doc in Trevor's lab in 1996 and then moved to Milan to do a post-doc at the European Institute for Oncology under Kristian Helin (now director of BRIC in Copenhagen). Four years and one child later I returned to Australia but went to work with the Steve Dalton's cell cycle/stem cell group at Adelaide Uni/BresaGen. After three or so years in Adelaide (and the shift of the stem cell program to the USA) I finally returned to Melbourne (now with two kids in tow!) to run a chocolate distribution franchise to have a break from science for a while, and then went back to run a coursework masters programs in Molecular Sciences at La Trobe Uni. Most recently, I took on the role of Deputy Dean (Academic). I now have three kids on board (and that's enough of that too).
|Traude Beilharz |
After graduating from the Lithgow Disco in 2002, I spent a wonder-filled year in Randy Scheckman's lab (UC Berkeley), but then the clang of the biological clock got deafening and I wanted to come back home... I joined Thomas Preiss' Lab at the VCCRI in Sydney with a Centenary Fellowship (2004-6) and was blessed with a wonderful daughter Elizabeth. I moved to Monash University to establish a systems biology research program, with my current work focused on RNA metabolism, and the development of new-generation transcriptomics technology.
|Rebecca Lucattini (nee George)|
Rebecca's thesis was entitled "Protein Targeting and the Nascent Polypeptide-Associated Complex in Saccharomyces cerevisiae". Rebecca studied the function of NAC in the delivery of proteins to mitochondria in vivo. She has been working as a Forensic Scientist at the Victoria Police Forensic Services Centre since 2000. Her role is as a case manager and she also manages the Victorian DNA Intelligence Database.
After finishing my Ph.D. in 2003, I moved to Monash University to pursue post-doctoral studies in structural biology with Jamie Rossjohn; looking at immune recognition and signaling. In 2008, I started my own lab at Monash University investigating structural basis of host-pathogen interactions; in particular the role of glycans in bacterial pathogenesis and physiology. In 2014, I moved to the Department of Animal, Plant and Soil Science at La Trobe University.
Andreas completed a research project in Trevor's lab in 1998 as part of his MSc in Chemical Engineering from Lund University. After his PhD in Experimental haemotology he completed a postdoc at RIKEN in the Genome Science laboratory and is now back in Sweden at the Karolinska Institute, using epigenetic profiling to investigate normal and malign hematopoesis.
Peter worked on the J-protein family of chaperones, finishing his PhD in 2003. He since worked as a senior research officer on the human GABA receptor in the lab of Professor Michael Parker at St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research. Peter experienced a mid life crisis and as a consequence when back to study medicine. He works now as a GP, with interests in infectious diseases, nutrition and emergency medicine, at the Broome Medical Clinic in Western Australia.
Johann Wieslander completed a Masters Project in the Lithgow lab in 1999 and completed a further year at Lund School of Biomedical Research. In 2001 he started a PhD in a joint venture between the Department of Immunotechnology (Lund University) and Alligator Bioscience. But this led to a realization that research at Alligator, focusing on robotization of assays, was what he really wanted and led to a position as manager of the company's IT resources. In 2006 Johann moved to a position as an IT consultant at ATEA and then in 2007 joined Sony Ericsson. In 2009 Johann started as a software architect focusing on operator customization on the Android platform (Android.com). Somewhere in this time he managed to get married and produce two kids, Ella and Viktor.
After completing an enjoyable Ph.D. study period in 2004, I was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship to work as a post-doc in the laboratory of Professor Nikolaus Pfanner in Freiburg, Germany. There, I continued research focussed on understanding the mechanisms behind protein import into mitochondria. In 2007, I returned to Australia after receiving the University of Melbourne J.N. Peter's bequest Fellowship and in 2009 I moved to Monash University where I am establishing my own research group. Since returning to Australia my research has been focussed on understanding mitochondrial diseases.
I finished my Ph.D. in the Lithgow lab in 2004 and then moved to Heidelberg at the German Cancer Research Centre for a post-doc in cancer biology before taking a position with pharmaceutical giant Baxter Healthcare in Vienna. I recently joined DSM in the Netherlands, a food technology company specializing in fermentation and enzyme technology.
I did my honours and PhD studies with Trevor, and became close friends with TOM, TIM, BOB and finally SAM. I graduated in 2006 and was awarded a Peter Doherty Fellowship to move to La Trobe University to work with Prof. David Vaux on regulation of apoptosis. An EMBO Fellowship will see me off to Freiburg in Germany to continue studies into apoptosis and immunity with Prof. Georg Häcker.
After a postdoc in the Lithgow lab, I moved to Vancouver for another postdoc at the University of British Columbia with Patrick Keeling in 2005. I worked on a reduced form of mitochondria, called the mitosome. I continue to be interested in mitochondrial research in my current position as researcher in the group of Rolf Berge at the University of Bergen, Norway, where I want to influence mitochondrial health with bioactive compounds.
|Joanne Hildebrand (nee Hulett)|
Since completing my PhD studies in 2007 I have been a Postdoctoral Fellow in Gail Bishop's laboratory at the University of Iowa. The molecular and cellular biology skills I acquired in my work with yeast mitochondria have proven directly applicable to my current work in the field of immunology. My main focus is the signalling induced by TNF Receptor Superfamily members in B cells, which are strongly implicated in many human autoimmune diseases and immune cell cancers.
I completed my PhD studies as a close collaborator and 'honourary member' of the Lithgow Lab, where I studied the structural biology of mitochondrial outer membrane protein transport receptors using NMR. Upon finishing my PhD, I officially joined the Lithgow lab as a Postdoctoral Researcher where I studied the insertion and assembly machinary for outer membrane proteins in mitochondria. The foundations laid in the Lithgow lab helped me receive an NHMRC Biomedical ("Doherty") Postdoctoral Fellowship - I now work in the lab of Professor James Whisstock at Monash University, studying the structural biology and bioinformatics of all manner of pore forming proteins.
|Nickie C. Chan|
Nickie completed his PhD in 2008, studying the import and assembly of mitochondrial outer membrane proteins. He continues his research on mitochondria and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. David Chan at the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, California).
I completed my PhD on the subject of ‘Protein translocation in the remnant mitochondria of Giardia intestinalis' in 2008, discovering protein import and assembly machinery in the mitosomes of this parasite and evidencing the mitochondrial origin of these organelles. I am currently working with Dr. Ana Traven on transcriptional regulation in the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans. In March 2010, I moved to Toronto to take up a postdoctoral position in Dr. Gordon Keller's laboratory at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, to study embryonic stem cell differentiation.
Pavel Dolezal spent three years in Trevor´s team and, although being back in the Czech Republic, he is still professionally and mentally linked to the country of weird sports and great coffee. Pavel is establishing his own group in the basement of Charles University in Prague with the research focus on the biogenesis of simple mitochondria known as mitosomes and hydrogenosomes . Warning: the stay in Trevor´s lab leaves long-term effects.
After completing a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at The University of Melbourne I joined the Lithgow lab as a post-doc in 2008 where I gained an interest in, and learnt a great deal about bacterial transport systems. I then moved to the UK to take up a post-doc position in Gadi Frankel's lab at Imperial College to study translocation of bacterial effectors and their interactions with host cell proteins. I recently took up a tenured position at ICL to develop new research directions in bacterial pathogenesis.
I completed my PhD studies in 2010, working on the evolution of the mitochondrial protein import machinery components of the TIM and PAM complexes. I have moved to the laboratory of Professor Alan Cowman at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, to work on protein trafficking in Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria.
I undertook a PhD project with Trevor that involved the study of the BAM complex in the alpha-proteobacterium Caulobacter crescentus. The BAM complex in bacteria gave rise to the SAM complex in mitochondria. From this comparative study, we were able to define how the BAM protein machine evolved - working on the ancestral machinery for mitochondria was fantastic. I'm currently working as a post-doc in Ruth Kluck's lab to study the association of pro-apoptotic and pro-survival proteins to improve our understanding of mitochondrial aspects of programmed cell death in humans.
After leaving Trevor's lab in 2012 I moved to Prof Sven Pettersson's lab (Singapore) to try and understand how gut bacteria influence brain function and animal behaviour. I was awarded EIPOD and EMBO Fellowships to move to EMBL in Heidelberg (Germany) in the lab of Dr Nassos Typas, applying systems biology techniques to obtain a holistic understanding of host-bacterial interactions.
As an ARC Super Science Research Fellow in the Lithgow lab (2011-2014), I worked closely with a dynamic and collegial group of researchers to identify and define the intrinsic mechanisms of autotransporter protein folding and membrane insertion. In 2015 I took up a tenured position between the Research School of Biology and the Medical School at The Australian National University where I teach microbiology to medical students. My lab is focused on understanding how autotransporters are assembled into bacterial outer membranes, and how they function to mediate disease once they get there. I am also interested in reengineering autotransporters as recombinant protein production devices for use in biotechnology.
During my time in the Lithgow lab as an ARC Laureate Postdoctoral Fellow, I investigated the evolution and diversity of bacterial outer membrane protein families and domains, covering several types of secretion systems and the outer membrane protein assembly machineries, as well as other proteins associated with the bacterial cell surface. I have now taken up a position as senior scientist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge (UK) to work with Prof. Gordon Dougan, where I will extend my work on bacterial surfaces to explore how bacterial pathogens interact with their hosts, and how the host reacts when faced with a pathogenic organism.
I joined the Lithgow lab in 2009 with a background in chemistry with an interest in the molecular mechanisms that drove the evolution of mitochondria from their endosymbiotic ancestors. In my PhD, I developed Candida albicans, a human fungal pathogen, as a novel model system to study mitochondrial biogenesis using genetic and molecular approaches. In collaboration with Ana Traven's group (Monash University) I also investigated how mitochondrial outer membrane complexes (SAM and ERMES) contribute to the fitness and virulence of C. albicans. In 2015 I was awarded an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship to investigate the role of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in controlling mitochondrial dynamics in neurons. This research began in Dr Alex Whitworth's lab at the University of Sheffield and in 2015 we relocated to the Medical Research Council (MRC) Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, UK. We use fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to investigate the roles of mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and motor neuron disease.
I joined the Lithgow lab as TOYOBO long-term fellow and JSPS fellow, investigating the architecture and molecular mechanism of the mitochondrial protein-conducting channel, the TOM complex. Also, I worked on the architecture and function of the beta-barrel membrane protein assembly machinery (BAM complex) in Gram-negative bacteria as an ARC-funded research fellow. In 2017, I established my own lab as a tenure-track Associate Professor at the University of Miyazaki, Japan, and I am now investigating the molecular mechanism of the BAM complex.
I was an ARC Laureate Postdoctoral Fellow in the Lithgow lab from 2014-2019 where I investigated the structure and assembly of bacterial membrane nanomachines. Working in the Lithgow lab was a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring experience. In 2019 I moved to the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland NZ to establish a research group focused on bacterial cell biology and molecular imaging.
|Dilshan Gunasinghe |
I became a part of Lithgow family of researchers in the year 2013 with a background in Chemistry (Institute of Chemistry Ceylon, Sri Lanka). My doctoral research was focused on surveying Outer membrane proteins in gram-negative bacteria using a state of the arc high-resolution imaging technique known as the Super-resolution microscopy. This profoundly interdisciplinary research project led me to have collaborations with Monash Micro Imaging facility and the Department of Chemistry at Monash University. At the end of my PhD (2018), I was offered a Postdoctoral research position in Professor Katharina Gaus’s Laboratory (EMBL Australia node in Single Molecule Science) at the University of New South Wales which specialises in T-cell receptor (TCR) signalling. I am currently utilizing Super-resolution microscopy to capture and understand the early activation stages of T-cells upon antigenic peptide stimulation.
My time in the Lithgow lab involved studying the mechanism of the TAM complex and how bacterial get proteins into their outer membrane, and then morphed into the study of how bacterial ribosomes evolve to evade treatment of last line antibiotics. Trevor encouraged a true multidisciplinary approach to science and my work spanned the breadth of biochemical techniques, but ended up focussed on single particle cryo electron microscopy (cryoEM) where we were able to apply it to study the intricate molecular details of ribosomes. Now, I'm focused on applying cryoEM to help with pharmaceutical drug design, by using the technique to get valuable structure activity relationship data for new antibiotics as well as new antagonists for the GPCR family. My work now is based at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Science in Parkville, Melbourne as well as Monash, Clayton.
|Hsin-Hui Shen (2015)|
I was an ARC Super Science Research Fellow in the Lithgow lab from 2011-2016 where I used biophysical characterization techniques to investigate the structure and assembly of bacterial membrane nanomachines. In 2016, I received a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship and established a research group at Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Monash University. My lab is focused on the discovery of new antimicrobial nanomaterials in treating bacterial infections and we examine how those novel nano-antibiotics interact with bacterial membranes.
I joined the Lithgow Lab as a Sir Henry Wellcome Fellow (2015-2018). I worked closely with a talented group of researchers with a diverse skill set and a love of innovative experimental design. While my major research topic was to identify the structural and biochemical basis for iron acquisition in bacteria, I worked on collaborative projects investigating, among other things: The proteins responsible for bacterial outer-membrane biogenesis, the structure and function of bacteriophage, and the composition of the outer membrane of Helicobacter pylori. My time in the Lithgow lab was a great learning experience, where I witnessed and was part of the rise cryo-electron microscopy as premier technique in structural biology. I now pursuing my career ambition of running my own research group in the School of Biological Sciences at Monash University, working on bacterial metabolic flexibility in the group of associate professor Chris Greening.
As a Senior Research Fellow in the Lithgow lab between 2015 and 2017, my work involved in developing bioinformatic tools capable of accurately predicting substrates of bacterial secretion systems from the whole-genome sequence data. We looked into how machine learning techniques can be better applied to extract biological information from the large genome datasets. I am currently an Associate Professor and Head of the Bioinformatics and Computational Biomedicine Lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI).
My PhD time in Gabriel lab and Lithgow lab, supported by an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship was highly rewarding and the support from all lab members was fantastic. I studied effector proteins secreted by Neisseria meningitidis and how they find their targets in human cells during meningococcal infections. I am now a postdoctoral research fellow in Professor Anton Peleg’s group at Monash University. My research interests are focussed on understanding resistance to last-line antibiotics and immune evasion in Staphylococcus aureus, one of the most important human pathogens.
I had a one-year exchange in the Lithgow lab as a visiting MSc student from Wenzhou Medical University in China. My project here was to understand how a glycan hydrolase, secreted by the bacterial pathogen Klebsiella pneumonia using its T2SS, promotes the virulence of infections caused by this antimicrobial-resistant superbug. The experience was excellent, and all the lab members helped me a lot.
I was a visitor from Wenzhou Medical University in 2016-2017 in the Lithgow Lab at Monash University. I really liked the learning atmosphere in the Lithgow Lab and everyone taught me a lot. I investigated the LuxS-mediated quorum sensing in Klebsiella pneumoniae. Now I am a PhD student in Zhejiang University, China and study the antimicrobial resistance mechanism and transmission routes of Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii.
My name is Jiahui Li. As a visiting master student from Wenzhou medical university, it’s my honor to have a chance to learn new experimental skills, knowledge and the way of thinking in Trevor’s lab for nearly one and a half years between 2017 to 2019. Here I realized the happiness and satisfaction of doing research with the help of lab members and hope I can go further in the future.
I joined the Lithgow Lab as PhD student (2017-2020). My work involved in developing machine learning-based bioinformatics tools. After completed my PhD studies in 2020, I have moved to the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, The University of Melbourne, Australia. My research interests are machine learning, sequence analysis, structural analysis, DNA/RNA post-transcriptional and protein post-translational modification prediction, antimicrobial resistance phenotype prediction of human bacterial pathogens using whole-genome sequence data.
I visited Lithgow Lab during 2015-2016, supervised by Trevor and Jiangning. My research topic was about machine learning-based protein sequence analysis at that time. Studying and working in the Lithgow Lab was an enjoyable experience. In 2019, I joined Jiangning's lab for my PhD study, focusing on cancer image analysis. I appreciate all the help and support from Trevor and every team member!
My one-year exchange in the Lithgow lab in 2019-2020 as a visiting student from Wenzhou Medical University in China was rewarding and fantastic. The support and help from all lab members were super great. My project here was to analyze the evolution of B-lactamase in Klebsiella pnemoniae. The experience was unforgettable and amazing.
I was on a one-year Postdoctoral exchange program in the Lithgow lab from 2017-2018 as a visiting Postdoc from Wenzhou Medical University in China. My project was to investigate the inflammatory response during Staphylococcus aureus lung infection with human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived macrophages. I had a very pleasant time at Lithgow lab, Monash Uni. I learned a lot from Trevor and others in the lab which had changed me a lot since my return back to the Eye Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University as an Associate Professor. I am now working on human hiPSC-derived microglia which has similar origin with macrophages during embryogenesis using modified method which I learned in Monash. I am very grateful to my supervisor Trevor for his patient guidance and inspiring suggestions.
In 2014-2018, I undertook a PhD in Trevor’s lab investigating the Omp85 protein superfamily in Klebsiella pneumoniae. My time in the Lithgow lab was excellent as I thoroughly enjoyed the mentorship, camaraderie, diverse expertise, and extensive support of the lab members. In 2019, I took up a position in Dr. Timothy Well’s lab at the University of Queensland studying the role of antibody dependent enhancement of gram-negative bacterial disease and infection.
After studying in The Netherlands, Sweden and Germany and completing a PhD in Heidelberg, Germany, I joined the Lithgow lab for three years (2017-2019). Here I studied the role of the outer membrane proteins of Klebsiella pneumoniae in antimicrobial resistance. After a great time at Monash University and in Australia I moved back to Europe, precisely the Biozentrum in Basel, Switzerland (by the way the place where Trevor also spend some of his PostDoc years), where I am investigating virulence factors of Salmonella Typhimurium and antibiotic-free strategies to combat this pathogen.
My name is Wei Dai, a master student at the Guilin University of Electronic Technology in China, major in Computer Science and Technology. It is my honour to study in Trever’s lab as a visiting student between Oct. 2019 to Sep. 2020.
I joined Lithgow lab for a short three months as part of my PhD research project on mitochondrial TIM22 import complex biology. After completing my PhD in Agnieszka Chacinska lab at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw (Poland), I was awarded an EMBO Long-term fellowship to join David Rubinsztein group in the Cambridge institute for Medical Research (UK). My research now focuses on understanding how autophagy could be modulated to induce clearance of harmful protein aggregates to prevent neurodegeneration.
My PhD time in the Lithgow lab where I studied material surface-bacteria interaction was very rewarding. The support from the lab members helped me overcome numerous challenges not only in specific problems in projects but also my professional career. I am now doing research in Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. My research interests are focused on controlling biointerfaces signals. It includes the control over surfaces chemistries and topographies to study the function of either one specific factor or synergic effects of several signals in surface-cell interactions.
I was part of the Lithgow lab research family between 2016 – 2020 as a doctoral student. My project focused on the architectural significance of the Gram-negative periplasm focusing on Lpp. As an international student, the lab felt like a new home with tremendous support all around me. After my graduation, I moved to an antibody engineering company in Melbourne, working as a research and development scientist. Always proud to be part of the LITHGOW LAB ALUMNI.
Following a PhD in Microbiology (Canada), I joined the Lithgow lab as a postdoctoral fellow from 2017-2019, where I worked on understanding the role of periplasmic chaperone proteins in the assembly of beta-lactamase enzymes in Gram-negative bacteria. I greatly enjoyed my time in the Lithgow lab, particularly the positive culture of scientific collaboration and feedback within the lab. Since 2019, I have been a postdoc at the University of Western Australia, where I draw from my background in protein crystallography and structure-guided drug design to characterize novel herbicide targets and develop herbicides with greater plant specificity.
I completed my PhD in 2009 in the Structural Biology Division at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne and then moved to Monash University to join Trevor’s group. I was awarded a NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship to investigate outer membrane protein assembly in gram-negative bacteria. During my time with Trevor I worked on several projects studying protein translocation across the bacterial cell wall, I started a family and had two amazing kids. In 2020, I joined A/Prof Sheena McGowan’s Structural Microbiology group at Monash University to investigate therapeutically important microbial proteins through structure, function and drug design.
After studying and working at The University of Melbourne, I joined the Lithgow Lab as a postdoc on two occasions – in 2016 for one year, and again in 2019-2020. During my time in Trevor’s lab, I worked on various molecular biology projects focused on Klebsiella pneumoniae that encompassed secretion systems, outer-membrane porins, antibiotic resistance mechanisms, and bacteriophages. I left Monash with fond memories of the supportive work environment and high quality of scientific research. In 2020 I took up an industry position at CSL in Parkville to participate in the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing campaign, where I assisted in testing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, as well as managing trials to assess vaccine stability.
During four years of my PhD and postdoc with Trevor (2017-2021), I worked on machine learning based sequence analysis, machine learning feature engineering and data platform construction.
It has been a huge privilege to closely work with Trevor - I learned far more than expected. This experience has and will have a long-term impact on my life and career.
In 2021, I started a new postdoc position at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), Cambridge, working on single cell multi-omics. But every amazing moment in the lab will always stay in my memory, and really proud to be a Lithgow lab member!