I am a Professor of Medical Microbiology in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at UNSW Sydney where I teach medical microbiology to science and medical students. I grew up in China and did my undergraduate degree there. I completed my PhD at University of Sydney in 1992 and did my postdoctoral training also at the University of Sydney. I was appointed as a Senior Lecturer at UNSW in 2002 and promoted to Professor in 2018.
My research addresses how pathogens arise, evolve and cause diseases, and how to identify and track these pathogens. I work on bacterial pathogens that are important to human health, with primary interests in gastrointestinal tract pathogens (pathogenic Escherichia coli, Shigella, Salmonella, Vibrio cholerae) and respiratory tract pathogens (Bordetella pertussis). In general terms, our work focuses on the arms race between human intervention (vaccination and/or antibiotics) and the pathogen response.
In B. pertussis we have shown that epidemic B. pertussis in Australia has undergone changes at genomic and proteomic levels in response to selection from vaccine. In Shigella, we have shown that S. flexneri epidemics in China were due to the emergence and spread of a novel clone that carried both a novel O antigen and multidrug resistance. In Salmonella, we have shown that whole genome sequencing has the power to radically improve outbreak investigation and public health intervention. I invented the the core genome concept which is central to the understanding of bacterial evolution.
I developed the multilevel genome typing (MGT) scheme for Salmonella Typhimurium and host the MGT database at https://mgtdb.unsw.edu.au/.
For more information about us please visit my lab website http://www.lanlab.unsw.edu.au/.
- Lam, C.,..., R. Lan. (2014) Rapid increase in pertactin-deficient Bordetella pertussis isolates, Australia. Emerging Infect Dis 20:626-633.
- Octavia, S., ..., R. Lan. (2015) Delineating community outbreaks of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium using whole genome sequencing. J Clin Microbiol 53:1063-1071.
- Jones, M., ..., R. Lan (2017). Population and evolutionary dynamics of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli O157 in a beef herd: A longitudinal study. Environ Microbiol 19: 1836-1844.
- Xu, Z. …, R. Lan. (2019) Genomic epidemiology of erythromycin-resistant Bordetella pertussis in China. Emerg Microbes Infect 8:461-470.
- Luu, L.D.W., ..., R. Lan (2020). Surfaceome analysis of Australian epidemic Bordetella pertussis reveals potential vaccine antigens. Vaccine 38: 539-548.
- Payne, M., ..., R. Lan (2020). Multilevel genome typing: genomics guided scalable resolution typing of microbial pathogens. Eurosurveillance 25: 1900519.
- Postdoc/Research fellow, University of Sydney
Honours & Awards
- Guest Professor, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
- Division Chair, the Australia Society for Microbiology
- Fellow of Australian Society for Microbiology