Infectious Disease

Infectious diseases cause some of the world’s most critical health problems and are responsible for around one-third of annual deaths worldwide. Emerging pathogens such as SARS and swine influenza are a constant and rapidly evolving threat.

The BABS Infectious Disease research group is committed to a broad range of research and teaching activities in Sydney and around the world. Its research focuses on molecular epidemiology, with an aim to combat the invisible microbes that remain a huge biological challenge affecting both human and animal health.

The group brings together a wide range of internationally recognised research expertise to investigate the microbiological factors affecting a range of vital health issues including:

  • Tracking the evolution of pandemic norovirus responsible for millions of cases of acute gastroenteritis globally.
  • The use of mathematical, computational and statistical methods to understand biological systems, including evolutionary biology and infectious diseases.
  • Molecular evolution and population structure of bacterial pathogens including Bordetella pertussis (Whooping Cough), Salmonella enterica, Shigella and Vibrio cholerae.
  • Research into understanding how the hepatitis C virus evades host immune responses.
  • Investigation into the role of mucus-associated bacteria in inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Whether viruses such as human papillomavirus and Epstein-Barr virus can initiate carcinogenesis.

Medical bacteriology: Professors Hazel Mitchell and Peter White, Associate Professor Ruiting Lan and Dr Li Zhang investigate medically important bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori and Salmonella enterica and studies involve evolution, antibiotic resistance and their role in diseases, particularly the links to gastric cancer.

Medical virology: Professor Peter White and A/Professor Noel Whitaker work in the area of medical virology involving viruses such as hepatitis C, human papillomavirus and norovirus. For more information, click here.

The burden of infectious disease continues to be significant in Australia. The potential for serious outbreaks presents a major public health challenge and requires planning and vigilance. Research is conducted in collaboration with other research institutions, public health organisations, quarantine services, and agricultural and animal production sectors.

Academic and Research Staff associated with Infectious Disease

Primary Affiliation
Associate Professors
Senior Lecturers