Genetics, Genomics, and Health

Our Research

We utilise genetic and genomic approaches in a diverse range of organisms, from the smallest microbe through to humans, to answer key questions in environmental, reproductive, developmental, and disease genetics.

By investigating how gene products function, we are able to answer how an individual cell might respond to an environmental cue, or how an entire population may adapt and evolve in response to environmental change. Using genomics approaches we seek to understand how genes interact with the environment to control natural variation, mating behaviour and success, and adaptation. Finally, we use these approaches to identify the genetic causes and contributions to infectious and inherited disease, and develop novel therapies and strategies to treat them.


The following researchers study genetics, genomics, and health.

  • Professor Sureshkumar Balasubramanian: Suresh is interested in deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying phenotypic variation that shapes evolution in plants.
  • Dr Jeremy Barr: Jeremy studies bacteriophage and their interactions with the human body. His focus is on the mucosal surface and the antimicrobial effect that bacteriophage exert at these critical barriers.
  • Professor John Bowman: John researches the genetic and molecular basis of pattern formation in plant development and the evolution of land plant morphology.
  • Professor Rob Bryson-Richardson: Robert researches the genetic causes, disease mechanisms, and potential therapies for a range of neuromuscular diseases using the zebrafish as an in vivo model system
  • Dr Richard Burke: Richard is using the experimental advantages of the vinegar fly Drosophila to investigate the genetic regulation of ion transport and metabolism in animal development and disease.
  • Professor Steven Chown: Steven is engaged in biogeographic and macroecological studies, macrophysiology, spatial ecology, and invasion biology. Translation of science into policy is a major focus.
  • Dr Tim Connallon: Tim is interested in the conceptual links between theory and data in evolutionary biology. Topics of interest include sexual dimorphism, genome evolution, and genetic constraints to adaptation.
  • Professor Damian Dowling: Damian's research focuses on the dynamics of life-history evolution. A core goal is to understand the evolutionary processes that shape our energy producing genes.
  • A/Professor Matt Hall: Matt's research group focuses on the evolution of host-pathogen interactions with a focus on the causes and consequences of variation in host susceptibility and pathogen virulence. Research projects centre on three key themes: i) sex differences and the evolution of infectious disease; ii) invasion biology and host-pathogen interactions; and, iii) the consequences of global change..
  • Dr Kay Hodgins: Kay researches plant evolution in human altered environments, plant adaptation to climate change, crop evolution and the evolution of plant sexual systems.
  • Dr Travis Johnson: Travis' research explores the genetic and molecular control of cell communication during development using the fruit fly as a model.
  • A/Professor Francine Marques: Francine's research interests include finding new therapies and early markers to prevent cardiovascular disease, in particular high blood pressure and heart failure.
  • Dr Mike McDonald: Mike and his research group evolve populations of microbes in a variety of laboratory environments, with the goal to understand how organisms adapt to better fit their environment.
  • Dr Matt McGee: Matt’s research utilizes experimental studies of behaviour in conjunction with modern genomic techniques to understand the phenotypic and genotypic dynamics of ecological speciation, evolutionary innovation, and convergent evolution in fish communities.
  • A/Professor Christen Mirth: Christen's research explores the regulation and evolution of developmental plasticity,focussing on how environmental conditions alter body size and shape, life history traits, and patterns of foraging behaviour.
  • A/Professor Matt Piper: Matt's research focuses on the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which nutrition modifies lifelong health and ageing. Our goal is to use this knowledge to improve health in humans.
  • Professor Carla Sgro: Carla researches the genetic basis of adaptation to environmental change. How evolutionary processes can be incorporated into biodiversity conservation is a focus.
  • Dr Sridevi Sureshkumar: Sridevi uses Arabidopsis thaliana as a system to study epigenetic gene silencing caused by expanded DNA repeats.
  • Dr Reid Tingley: Reid studies how species traits and environmental change influence the dual processes of invasion and extinction at macroecological scales.
  • Professor Craig White: Craig is an evolutionary physiologist interested in describing and understanding the causes and consequences of physiological variation in animals.

Bacteriophage. Image: Dr Jeremy Barr.

Microfluidics. Image: Dr Jeremy Barr.

Microfluidics. Image: Dr Jeremy Barr.

Profiling. Image: Dr Mike McDonald.

Electron micrograph of developing spermatids in the mouse testis. Image: Jo Merriner (O'Bryan Lab) and Martin Bergmann.

Larval Brain Neurons. Image: Dr Travis Johnson.