Overview of the Research Area

A diverse and interesting array of biological research is undertaken in the school spanning from working at the molecular level to analysis of the biological impact of climate change. Areas of biological research also overlap with other areas of the university including medical science, environment science and zoology. There are also staff with a strong research interest in Biology education.

Research focusing on structure-function studies of genes, peptides and proteins are carried out by several groups whereby they use modern tools in molecular biology and protein chemistry. Using state of the art instrumentation such NMR, mass spectrometry and confocal imaging, research projects aim to investigate the cellular dynamics and functions of proteins and genes. Examples of projects include cellular oxidative stress, the structure and function of neuropeptide-metal binding, cell signalling, gene activation and therapy and post-translational modification.

Groups involved in microbiology are studying the importance of survival and delivery of probiotic bacteria and their interactions with the immune system, natural gut bacteria and pathogens. Other projects include rapid method development for detection of pathogens in food together and the ecology and mechanisms of gastrointestinal pathogenesis. The role of biofilms in the persistence and transmission of bacterial pathogens in disease and methods for prevention and control are other important areas of research in the school.

Several groups work on bioactive natural products from micro-organisms to plants. This includes the study of antibiotics and other bioactive compounds from soil bacteria and cyanobacteria, investigating the biosynthesis and regulation and delivery into the environment. Other projects look to identify plant-derived antibiotics and determine mechanisms of tolerance.

Other areas of expertise include studying the eye and the chemistry of tear film, working at the interface of biology and physical chemistry. Expertise also exists in studying the response of marine organisms to climate change.

You may like to include information about the focus areas of the research area, specific research strengths, research links with industry/community, facilities that researchers/collaborators/students have access to within the School, and a summary of recent research grants that have been attained.



Prof Pauline Ross - Marine Biology and Biology Education
(02) 4570 1306,

Prof Thomas Millar - eye research, biochemistry
(02) 9685 9901,

Dr Jo-Anne Chuck - Bioactive compounds, biochemistry, microbiology
(02) 9685 9906,

Dr Liza Cubeddu - Protein Chemistry
(02) 4620 3343,

Dr Mark Jones - Cell Biology, biochemist
(02) 4570 1444,

Dr Michelle Moffitt - Bioactive Compounds
(02) 4620 3521,

Dr Christopher Jones - Peptides, biochemistry
(02) 9685 9908,

Julie Markham – Biofilms, antimicrobial, bioactivity, microbiology, education
(02) 4570 122,

Dr Michael Phillips - Probiotic bacteria, environmental microbiology
(02) 4570 1315,

Dr Sebastian Holmes  - Marine Biology
(02) 9685 9904,

Potential Supervisors 

To find a prospective HDR supervisor, please visit our Potential Supervisors page.

Current Research Candidates and Topics

Current Research Candidates and Topics

Mitchell Gibbs Thesis: The Impact of Climate Change on Larval Energetics of Molluscs on the Southeast Coast of Australia.
Supervised by: Prof Pauline Ross, Co-Supervisor: Laura Parker, Wayne O'Connor

John Wright Thesis: The Impact of Ocean Acidification and Predation on the Ecologically and Economically Significant Mollusc, the Pacific Oyster Crassotrea Gigas.
Supervised by: Prof Pauline Ross, Co-Supervisors: Laura Parker, Wayne O'Connor, Mark Williams

Elliot Scanes
Thesis: Effects of Multiple Stressors on Oysters in Sydney Harbour.
Supervised by: Prof Pauline Ross, Co-Supervisors: Laura Parker, Emma Johnston, Wayne O'Connor

Rouba Ballouk
Thesis: The Production and Packaging of Antibotics for Secretion by Streptomyces Species.
Supervised by: Dr Jo-Anne Chuck, CO-Supervisors: Gary Dennis

Adrian Gimenez
Thesis: Elucidating the Function of hSSB2 in Nucleotide Excision Repair.
Supervised by: Dr Liza Cubeddu, Co-Supervisor: Roland Gamsjaeger

Christine Touma
Thesis: HSSB1 in Homologous Recombination.
Supervised by: Dr Liza Cubeddu, Co-Supervisor: Roland Gamsjaeger

Ray Bernardo
Thesis: Characterising the Role of Bromodomain Proteins in the Regulation of Transcription.
Supervised by: Dr Liza Cubeddu, Co-Supervisor: Roland Gamsjaeger

Ruvini Kariawasam
Thesis: A Single-stranded DNA Binding Protein Implicated in the Cellular Response to DNA Damage.
Supervised by: Dr Liza Cubeddu, Co-Supervisor: Roland Gamsjaeger

Behroz Hassan Ali Pour
Thesis: Modifying SMRT (Single Molecule Real Time) - Sequencing to Control Gene Regulation Via DNA Motifs.
Supervised by: Dr Mark Jones, Co-Supervisors: Adrian Renshaw

Jack Braithwaite
Thesis: Spectral Phasor Characterisation of Live Cell RNA and F-actin Dynamics Through Fluorescent Microscopy Techniques.
Supervised by: Dr Mark Jones, Co-Supervisors: Enrico Gratton, Michelle Digman

Belinda Wright
Thesis: Real-time Analysis of the Autofluroescent Properties of Metabolic Coenzymes and Their Behaviour in Live Cells Using Advance Microscopy Techniques.
Supervised by: Dr Mark Jones, Co-Supervisor: Michelle Digman, Enrico Gratton

Melinda Micallef Thesis: Characterisation of Biosynthetic Gene Clusters within Cyanobacteria.
Supervised by: Dr Michelle Moffitt, Co-Supervisor: Jo-Anne Chuck, Brett Neilan

Contact Person

For more information about the research area, please contact Prof. Thomas Millar via Email: Phone: (02) 9685 9901