Disease-specific research

Leaders in bacterial, viral and fungal research
Our experts focus on some of the most important infectious disease challenges. Diseases such as tuberculosis have affected human kind since ancient times, whilst SARS-CoV-2 and HIV represent newly emerged viruses in our world. Our basic and translational research is aimed at preventing infection, improving treatment and achieving cure.

Meet our experts

Disease-specific areas of national and regional leadership include:


Tuberculosis (TB) remains the number one infectious diseases killer on our planet. Our reseachers lead the Centre for Research Excellence in Tuberculosis - both sides of the border as well as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Tuberculosis.

Professor Ben Marais
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Professor Ben Marais is a paediatrician and paediatric infectious diseases specialist with an interest in global health. He is internationally renowned for his work on childhood and multi drug-resistant (MDR)-tuberculosis (TB).

Professor Warwick Britton
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Professor Britton's research studies the immunological control of tuberculosis and new vaccine strategies to control this major human infection. He is also involved in the development and evaluation of new anti-TB drugs and new approaches to the pulmonary delivery of anti-TB drugs.

Professor Carl Feng
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Professor Feng's research is focused on the understanding of the mechanisms mediating host resistance to respiratory pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis and influenza virus, with the goal of developing novel interventions for preventing and treating infectious diseases in humans.

  • Helen Chen
  • Lina Daniel
  • Tia O'Neill
  • Andrew Sawyer
  • Lucia Tang
  • Wei Xiao

Professor Greg Fox
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Professor Greg Fox a respiratory physician, epidemiologist and clinical trialist committed to using research to improve health care among disadvantaged populations.

  • Alvin Teo
  • Emily Maclean
  • Shukry Zawahir
  • Jaslyn Doshi
  • Tasnim Hasan
  • Hamad Hosseini
  • Vanessa Kumar
  • Qingbin (Zac) Li
  • Abi Ratnasingham 
  • Kate Nguyen
  • Tania Mukherjee
  • Xing Jin
  • Vicky Chang

Research team page


The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented disruption. Our researchers tackled many different aspects related to pandemic control and keeping Australians safe.

SARS-CoV-2 evolution


Public Health Genomics

Immunology and vaccine development


Vaccine uptake

Paediatric disease



Researchers from medical, veterinary, and agricultural disciplines are working together to define the magnitude and risks of anti-fungal resistance (AFR) in our region. Drug resistant Aspergillus and Candida species, have emerged as a major health risk linked to medical care and agricultural biocide use.  Research into resistant rice blast and wheat rust that threaten global food security occurs within the Sydney Institute of Agriculture.

Associate Professor Justin Beardsley
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Dr Beardsley is an infectious disease specialist and clinical researcher focussed on fungal infections. His research has covered clinical treatment trials, epidemiology, immune responses, pharmacokinetics of anti-fungal drugs in the central nervous system, and the emergence of AMR in several fungal species. He also works on improving management of other chronic infections, such as tuberculsosis, and control of bacterial AMR.

Professor Dee Carter
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The Carter lab investigates disease-causing fungal pathogens with the aim of finding new ways to inhibit them and treat the infections they cause. Work in the lab centres on understanding pathogen diversity using morphological and population genetic analyses, and on understanding their cellular responses to toxins and stresses using transcriptomic approaches. Carter's group is particularly interested in the use of non-toxic natural products to augment traditional antifungal therapies.  They work with both yeast and mould pathogens, including Cryptococcus, Candida, and Aspergillus, which cause skin, lung and invasive diseases, and the dermatophytes, which cause tinea.

Associate Professor Julianne Djordjevic
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Associate Professor Julie Djordjevic investigates how fungal pathogens survive within the human host. Her current research focusses on understanding how inositol polyphosphate metabolites regulate functions essential for fungi to infect and spread within a human host. 

Dr Kwok's research is in pulmonary drug delivery. In particular, he specialises in the engineering, physicochemical characterisation, and electrostatics of pharmaceutical aerosol formulations. He has collaborated with academic and industrial researchers, both locally and internationally, on formulation-focused as well as cross-disciplinary projects.

Professor Tania Sorrell
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Professor Sorrell’s medical mycology research interests include: (a) basic research on the pathogenesis of invasive fungal infections using Cryptococcus neoformans as a model; (b) drug discovery; and (c) clinical and translational research. Her work has made major contributions to the understanding of cryptococcal disease in immunocompromised and immunocompetent hosts.


An estimated 250 million people are infected with hepatitis B and 70 million with hepatitis C. Delivery of prevention and treatment options and the potential of emerging resistance remains a challenge.

Associate Professor Mark Douglas
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Mark Douglas is an Infectious Diseases Physician and molecular virologist, with a strong research interest in viral hepatitis. He undertakes basic and translational research on hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis D virus (HDV) pathogenesis. His research investigates interactions between hepatitis viruses and their host, focusing on metabolic pathways, cell signalling, innate immunity and induction of liver cancer. 

  • Thomas Tu 
  • Sarah Bae 
  • Vikki Ho
  • Henrik Zhang
  • Dong Li
  • Harout Ajoyan 
  • Mylisa Vu 
  • Gabriela Wu 

Professor Jacob George
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Professor George’s research broadly covers liver disease and cancer, with specific themes in the fields of viral hepatitis, liver cancer, fatty liver disease, hepatic drug metabolism, and the contribution of host genetics and immunology to liver disease, liver injury and fibrosis. He has particular interests in basic and clinical research on metabolic (dysfunction) associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) and on the role of host genetics in treatment response and disease progression in viral hepatitis.


Herpesviruses are ubiquitous and pose major problems in immunocompromised patients. Our research programs combine basic science and clinical research aiming to control recurrent herpes diseases like shingles and cold sores.

Professor Allison Abendroth
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The overall aim of Professor Abendroth’s work is to define molecular mechanisms underlying VZV infection and the host response to infection, which may lead to new strategies for the development of therapies to lessen the impact of VZV disease on the community.

Associate Professor Barry Slobedman
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Professor Barry Slobedman is head of the Herpesvirus Pathogenesis Research Group, where he works on a range of human herpesviruses including human cytomgealovirus (CMV), as well as Herpes simplex virus (HSV; the causative agent of cold sores) and Varicella Zoster virus (VZV; the causative agent of chickepox and shingles.

HIV and STIs

Despite advances in treatment, HIV remains difficult to conquer with no vaccine and no cure.  Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise and also require dedicated research.

Professor Andrew Harman
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Andrew Harman is a Professor of Virology and Immunology . His primary interest is in mucosal immunology and investigating the dynamics of sexual transmission of HIV.

  • Kirstie Bertram
  • Thomas O’Neil
  • Heeva Baharlou
  • Kevin Hu
  • Erica Vine
  • Freja Warner Van Dijk
  • Shivana Cameron

Research team page

Professor David Lewis
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Prof Lewis' research interests focus on antimicrobial resistance, gonorrhoea, genital ulcer diseases and STIs in men-who-have-sex-with men.

Professor Sarah Palmer
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Prof Palmer's research interest focuses on molecular and medical virology and the application of innovative techniques and assays which provide new insights into disease pathogenesis and treatment, especially for HIV. 

Associate Professor Shailendra Sawleshwarkar
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Associate Professor Shailendra Sawleshwarkar is a physician working in HIV, STIs and sexual health. His research interests include global health, One health, management of HIV and STIs in primary care, molecular epidemiology of HIV,  AMR and Emerging technology for healthcare. He also works with research groups in India and Australia with a focus on education, One Health and AMR.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Infections

Infections of the brain and central nervous system (CNS) are some of the most devasting and difficult to treat. Our researchers are finding better treatments and  prevention strategies to deal with CNS infections.

Associate Professor Philip Britton
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Dr Britton is a Paediatric Infectious Diseases physician and researcher focussing on rsevere infectious diseases in children, especially neurological infection and severe acute respiratory infections. His other research interests include tuberculosis, travel associated infections and tropical diseases, and Staphylococcus aureus infections. 

Professor Fabienne Brilot-Turville
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Her research interests are the detection and role of autoantibodies in brain immune-mediated diseases including brain demyelination and movement disorders. Fabienne is also interested in the response to COVID-19 vaccination in neuroimmunological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. Fabienne also heads the Brain Autoantibody Testing Referral Centre which provides autoantibody testing for diagnosis purposes.

  • Avani Yeola
  • Alicia Zou
  • Angelo Lopez
  • Ganesha Liyanage
  • Vera Merheb
  • Kristy Nguyen
  • Fiona Lee
  • Aleha Pillay
  • Samuel Houston