Doctor Michelle Moffitt

Doctor Michelle Moffitt

Senior Lecturer,
Medical Science (sosh)


Date                   Institution                                                           Position/Degree                      

2010 – present   Western Sydney University                                 Senior Lecturer in Microbiology

2006 – 2009      Western Sydney University                                  Lecturer in Microbiology

2005 – 2006      Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA           Research Associate (Postdoc)              

2003 – 2005      University of Arizona, USA                                   Research Associate (Postdoc)

2003                  University of New South Wales                            Australian Society for Microbiology Research Trust Postdoctoral Fellow

1999 - 2003       University of New South Wales                            PhD                      

1998                  University of New South Wales                            B. Sc., Honours 1st class 

1995 - 1997       University of New South Wales                            Bachelor of Advanced Science   

This information has been contributed by Doctor Moffitt.


  • PhD University of New South Wales
  • BSc University of New South Wales

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Medical Science (sosh)


Phone: (02) 4620 3521
Location: 21.1.06

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Previous Teaching Areas

  • 300321 Microbiology 2, 2017
  • 300833 Microbiology 1, 2017


Chapters in Books

  • D'Agostino, P., Moffitt, M. and Neilan, B. (2014), 'Current knowledge of paralytic shellfish toxin biosynthesis, molecular detection and evolution', Toxins and Biologically Active Compounds from Microalgae. Vol. 1, Origin, Chemistry and Detection, CRC Press 9781482210682.
  • Neilan, B., Pearson, L., Moffitt, M., Kaebernick, M., Mihali, T. and Kellmann, R. (2008), 'The genetics and genomics of cyanobacterial toxicity', Cyanobacterial harmful Algal Blooms: State of the Science and Research Needs, Springer New York 9780387758640.

Journal Articles

  • D'Agostino, P., Song, X., Neilan, B. and Moffitt, M. (2016), 'Proteogenomics of a saxitoxin-producing and non-toxic strain of Anabaena circinalis (cyanobacteria) in response to extracellular NaCl and phosphate depletion', Environmental Microbiology, vol 18, no 2 , pp 461 - 476.
  • D'Agostino, P., Woodhouse, J., Makower, A., Yeung, A., Ongley, S., Micallef, M., Moffitt, M. and Neilan, B. (2016), 'Advances in genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics of toxin-producing cyanobacteria', Environmental Microbiology Reports, vol 8, no 1 , pp 3 - 13.
  • Micallef, M., D'Agostino, P., Al-Sinawi, B., Neilan, B. and Moffitt, M. (2015), 'Exploring cyanobacterial genomes for natural product biosynthesis pathways', Marine Genomics, .
  • Micallef, M., D'Agostino, P., Sharma, D., Viswanathan, R. and Moffitt, M. (2015), 'Genome mining for natural product biosynthetic gene clusters in the Subsection V cyanobacteria', BMC Genomics, vol 16, no 1 .
  • Cronin, L., Moffitt, M., Mawad, D., Morton, O., Lauto, A. and Stack, C. (2014), 'An in vitro study of the photodynamic effect of rose bengal on Trichophyton rubrum.', Journal of Biophotonics, vol 7, no 6 , pp 410 - 417.
  • Cronin, L., Mildern, R., Moffitt, M., Lauto, A., Morton, O. and Stack, C. (2014), 'An investigation into the inhibitory effect of ultraviolet radiation on Trichophyton rubrum', Lasers in Medical Science, vol 29, no 1 , pp 157 - 163.
  • D'Agostino, P., Song, X., Neilan, B. and Moffitt, M. (2014), 'Comparative proteomics reveals that a saxitoxin-producing and a nontoxic strain of Anabaena circinalis are two different ecotypes', Journal of Proteome Research, vol 13, no 3 , pp 1474 - 1484.
  • Belshaw, D., Moffitt, M. and Truman, G. (2014), 'Cyanobacteria : health and research possibilities', NSW Public Health Bulletin, vol 24, no 4 , pp 178 - 179.
  • Micallef, M., Sharma, D., Bunn, B., Gerwick, L., Viswanathan, R. and Moffitt, M. (2014), 'Comparative analysis of hapalindole, ambiguine and welwitindolinone gene clusters and reconstitution of indole-isonitrile biosynthesis from cyanobacteria', BMC Microbiology, vol 14, no 213 .
  • Wu, M., Bak, T., O'Doherty, P., Moffitt, M., Nowotny, J., Bailey, T. and Kersaitis, C. (2014), 'Photocatalysis of titanium dioxide for water disinfection : challenges and future perspectives', International Journal of Photochemistry, vol 2014 .
  • Neilan, B., Pearson, L., Muenchhoff, J., Moffitt, M. and Dittmann, E. (2013), 'Environmental conditions that influence toxin biosynthesis in cyanobacteria', Environmental Microbiology, vol 15, no 5 , pp 1239 - 1253.
  • Gehringer, M., Adler, L., Roberts, A., Moffitt, M., Mihali, T., Mills, T., Fieker, C. and Neilan, B. (2012), 'Nodularin, a cyanobacterial toxin, is synthesized in planta by symbiotic Nostoc sp.', ISME journal, vol 6, no 10 , pp 1834 - 1847.
  • Pearson, L., Mihali, T., Moffitt, M., Kellmann, R. and Neilan, B. (2010), 'On the chemistry, toxicology and genetics of the cyanobacterial toxins, microcystin, nodularin, saxitoxin and cylindrospermopsin', Marine Drugs, vol 8, no 5 , pp 1650 - 1680.
  • Wiese, M., D'Agostino, P., Mihali, T., Moffitt, M. and Neilan, B. (2010), 'Neurotoxic alkaloids : saxitoxin and its analogs', Marine Drugs, vol 8, no 7 , pp 2185 - 2211.
  • Pearson, L., Moffitt, M., Ginn, H. and Neilan, B. (2008), 'The molecular genetics and regulation of cyanobacterial peptide hepatotoxin biosynthesis', Critical Reviews in Toxicology, vol 38, no 10 , pp 847 - 856.
  • Winter, J., Moffitt, M., Zazopoulos, E., Mcalpine, J., Dorrestein, P. and Moore, B. (2007), 'Molecular basis for chloronium-mediated meroterpene cyclization: cloning, sequencing, and heterologous expression of the napyradiomycin biosynthetic gene cluster', Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol 282, no 22 , pp 16362 - 16368.
  • Moffitt, M., Louie, G., Bowman, M., Pence, J., Noel, J. and Moore, B. (2007), 'Discovery of two cyanobacterial phenylalanine ammonia lyases: kinetic and structural characterization.', Biochemistry-US, vol 46, no 4 , pp 1004 - 1012.
  • Hicks, L., Moffitt, M., Beer, L., Moore, B. and Kelleher, N. (2006), 'Structural characterization of in vitro and in vivo intermediates on the loading module of microcystin synthetase', A C S Chemical Biology, vol 1, no 2 , pp 93 - 102.
  • Louie, G., Bowman, M., Moffitt, M., Baiga, T., Moore, B. and Noel, J. (2006), 'Structural determinants and modulation of substrate specificity in phenylalanine-tyrosine ammonia-lyases', Chemistry and Biology, vol 13, no 12 , pp 1327 - 1338.
  • Burns, B., Saker, M., Moffitt, M. and Neilan, B. (2004), 'Molecular detection of genes responsible for cyanobacterial toxin production in the genera Microcystis, Nodularia, and Cylindrospermopsis', Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 268 , pp 213 - 222.
  • Pomati, F., Moffitt, M., Cavaliere, R. and Neilan, B. (2004), 'Evidence for differences in the metabolism of saxitoxin and C1+2 toxins in the freshwater cyanobacterium Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii T3', Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - General subjects, vol 1674, no 1 , pp 60 - 67.
  • Toh, M., Moffitt, M., Henrichsen, L., Raferty, M., Barrow, K., Cox, J., Marquis, C. and Neilan, B. (2004), 'Cereulide, the emetic toxin of Bacillus cereus, is putatively a product of nonribosomal peptide synthesis', Journal of Applied Microbiology, vol 97, no 5 , pp 992 - 1000.
  • Moffitt, M. and Neilan, B. (2004), 'Characterization of the nodularin synthetase gene cluster and proposed theory of the evolution of cyanobacterial hepatotoxins', Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol 70, no 11 , pp 6353 - 6362.
  • Moffitt, M. and Neilan, B. (2003), 'Evolutionary affiliations within the superfamily of ketosynthases reflect complex pathway associations', Journal of Molecular Evolution, vol 56, no 4 , pp 446 - 457.
  • Feitz, A., Lukondeh, T., Moffitt, M., Burns, B., Naidoo, D., Della Vedova, J., Gooden, J. and Neilan, B. (2002), 'Absence of detectable levels of the cyanobacterial toxin (microcystin-LR) carry-over into milk', Toxicon, vol 40, no 8 , pp 1173 - 1180.
  • Moffitt, M., Blackburn, S. and Neilan, B. (2001), 'rRNA sequences reflect the ecophysiology and define the toxic cyanobacteria of the genus Nodularia', International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, vol 51, no 2 , pp 505 - 512.
  • Moffitt, M. and Neilan, B. (2001), 'On the presence of peptide synthetase and polyketide synthase genes in the cyanobacterial genus Nodularia', FEMS Microbiology Letters, vol 196, no 2 , pp 207 - 214.

Previous Projects

Title: Natural product genes in cyanobacteria: From microbial genetics to biotechnological applications
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Michelle Moffitt
Years: 2007-12-10 - 2009-06-30
ID: P0015934
Title: Characterising Genes For The Biosynthesis Of Isoprenoid-Isonitrile Alkaloids In Microorganisms
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Michelle Moffitt
Years: 2006-09-30 - 2007-11-15
ID: P0015261
Title: Polyketides as the conserved basis for diverse marine toxin biosyntheses [via UNSW]
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
Western Researchers: Michelle Moffitt
Years: 2008-02-11 - 2011-02-10
ID: P0015529
Title: Establishment of a mass spectrometer facility for natural products and proteomics research and teaching at the College of Health and Science within the University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown campus
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Jens Coorssen, Bill Price, Gerald Muench, Andrew Shalliker, Dennis Chang, Sabine Piller, Simon Myers, Colin Stack and Michelle Moffitt
Years: 2008-09-24 - 2010-09-15
ID: P00016326
Title: Dispersal of rodents and their role in transmission of bacterial pathogens between piggeries
  • Pork CRC Ltd
Western Researchers: Michelle Moffitt and Colin Stack
Years: 2008-07-01 - 2008-12-31
ID: P00016469


Doctor Moffitt is available to be a principal supervisor for doctoral projects

Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Investigation of foliar hyperparasites as biocontrol agents of rust fungi and the identification of their novel secondary metabolites
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Characterisation of Biosynthetic Gene Clusters within Cyanobacteria
Field of Research:

Previous Supervision

Thesis Title: Molecular Investigations of a Saxitoxin-Producing Strain and a Non-Toxic Strain of Anabaena Circinalis
Field of Research: Microbiology; Biochemistry And Cell Biology
Thesis Title: Identification and Characterisation of Biosynthetic Gene Clusters from Subsection V Cyanobacteria
Field of Research: Genetics; Microbiology; Other Natural And Physical Sciences

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