Antimicrobials 2018

Antimicrobials 2018 Symposium Speakers

Doctor Susan Ballard

Dr Susan Ballard is the Section Leader of Molecular Diagnostics, Development and Informatics (MDDI) at the Melbourne Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory. Susan leads a team of scientists responsible for the high throughput management of short-read sequencing for public health genomics and molecular testing and identification of reference, outbreak and infection control organisms as a service to the public health community. 

Susan has a diverse research career that spans the immunochemistry and molecular genetics of Leptospira, public health initiatives such as influenza surveillance and Hand Hygiene Australia, as well as undergraduate teaching in Microbiology. More recently, she has played a key role in the development of research on the epidemiology and mechanisms of vancomycin resistance in enterococci and the clostridia. This has led to significant publications demonstrating the role of anaerobic bowel flora in the de-novo emergence of vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE).

Doctor Evan Bursle

Doctor Evan Bursle is an Infectious Diseases Physician and Clinical Microbiologist from Brisbane. He works for Queensland Health as an ID Physician at the Princess Alexandra and Logan Hospitals and as a Microbiologist at Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology. He has a broad range of infection interests, including Nocardia and rapid growing Mycobacteria, hospital acquired infection and maternal infections.

A/Professor Julia Clark

Associate Professor Julia Clark is a Paediatric Infectious Diseases specialist in Children's Health Queensland, Brisbane, Australia and is Director of Infectious Disease, Immunology/Allergy and Rheumatology. As an experienced full time clinician with a strong commitment to clinical research she provides specialist support for infections in immunocompromised children and leads on infection control, antimicrobial stewardship, antibiotic related guideline and policy development and implementation. She has ongoing research interests in febrile neutropenia, fungal and viral infections in the immunocompromised, congenital CMV and mycobacterial infections and is enthusiastic about fostering and developing collaborative networks for paediatric infection related clinical research.

Doctor Erica Donner

Erica Donner is an Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow in the Future Industries Institute at the University of South Australia. Her research focuses on the environmental fate and effects of chemical and microbiological contaminants. Erica is a member of the European COST Action ES1403 Working Group on the 'Microbiome and mobile antibiotic resistome in treated wastewater and downstream environments' and leads a project funded by the South Australian Government investigating the sources and dynamics of antibiotic resistant bacteria and their genes in municipal wastewater, and their transfer and control during wastewater treatment and reuse.

Professor Iain Gosbell

Professor Iain Gosbell is the Foundation Professor of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney (UWS), Australia. He described the emergence of community MRSA in South Western Sydney, and subsequently developed research interests in the epidemiology of MRSA in both the community and hospital environment. Professor Gosbell is also interested in mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and the contribution of bacterial biofilms and hand-washing efficacy to healthcare-associated infections. He is a co-founder of the Antibiotic Resistance and Mobile Elements Group (ARMEG) at UWS.

Doctor Maryza Graham

Doctor Maryza Graham is a Clinical Microbiologist and Infectious Diseases Physician at Monash Health, which is the largest public health service in Victoria. Doctor Graham has been a member of the RCPA Microbiology Discipline Advisory Committee for 7 years and is currently chair of the RCPA Cascade Reporting Working Party, which comprises Clinical Microbiologists and ID Physicians from all over Australia. Doctor Graham is a practicing ID physician with an interest in infections in ICU and in immunocompromised patients.

Doctor Krispin Hajkowicz

Krispin Hajkowicz is the Acting Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and the Former Director of the Queensland Statewide Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. He has spoken at many national and international meetings on the topic of prudent antibiotic use to prevent the emergence of multi-resistant organism infection and has more than thirty research publications in the field of antibiotic use and infectious disease.

Doctor Amy Jennison  

Dr Amy Jennison is the Supervising Scientist of Molecular Epidemiology, Public Health Microbiology, which is the Queensland reference laboratory responsible for the molecular surveillance of notifiable bacterial pathogens and characterisation of public health related outbreaks. She is leading the team in the application of whole genome sequencing (WGS) to routine molecular surveillance and heads numerous research projects aimed at utilising WGS for improving molecular epidemiological investigation. Dr Jennison has particular interest in addressing surveillance issues caused by culture independent diagnostic testing (CIDT) where molecular testing leads to underculturing of important bacterial pathogens. She is driving research into innovative approaches for deep sequencing on direct specimens including the generation of molecular typing and antimicrobial resistance information on N. gonorrhoeae from PCR positive urine samples.

Professor Jeffrey  Lipman

Professor Jeffrey Lipman’s research interests cover most clinical aspects of infections in the critically ill, including management in intensive care, resuscitation of burns, and pharmacokinetics of antibiotic dosage. His research into antibiotic usage in acute situations has received international recognition and he is regarded as an expert in the field.

Doctor Jen Kok

Dr Jen Kok is a medical virologist, infectious diseases physician and clinical microbiologist. He supervises the virology laboratory of Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Laboratory Services at ICPMR, Westmead Hospital. This reference laboratory is a WHO National Influenza Centre. Jen is also a member of the Public Health Laboratory Network of Australia.

Jen's research and clinical interests include respiratory viruses, viral infections of public health significance, emerging viral infections, infections in immunocompromised hosts and antiviral resistance. He is also actively involved in laboratory and clinical trials investigating innovative laboratory diagnostic methods and novel therapeutic agents .

Professor Monica Lahra

Professor Monica Lahra is the Medical Director, Division of Bacteriology, and Director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for STD, Sydney, based in the Department of Microbiology, New South Wales Health Pathology at The Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. Professor Lahra is in charge of diagnostic bacteriology, and the operations and programmes of the WHO CC. This role includes the responsibility for national and international AMR surveillance networks. Professor Lahra is the author of more than 100 papers in peer reviewed journals, and has participated in the preparation of technical documents on antimicrobial resistance surveillance and treatment guidelines in the role of a Temporary Advisor for the World Health Organisation.

Doctor Michael Maley

Michael Maley is the Director of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the NSW Health Pathology Liverpool Laboratory and Local Pathology Director for South Western Sydney Local health District. He is also the clinical lead for the Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention and Control programmes for the LHD. The Liverpool laboratory was one of the first in Australia to introduce automation into the bacteriology laboratory, primarily as an attempt to manage substantial increases in demand for testing in the setting of severe constraints in staff numbers and experience. Automation has now been in place for 4 years allowing a greater understanding of the benefits that can be realised and the unforeseen consequences that need to be managed. Michael is also interested in lean continuous improvement in laboratory processes and in using data to demonstrate and maximise the value of laboratory testing to clinical medicine. 


Doctor Róisín McMahon

Doctor Róisín McMahon is a senior research officer at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery at Griffith University. Her research interests are the characterisation of bacterial anti-virulence targets and the identification of novel compounds to block their activity, using biochemistry, protein crystallography and rational structure based drug discovery approaches. In particular, she is seeking options to combat Burkholderia pseudomallei and melioidosis. Róisín is an Executive Committee member of the Australian Academy of Science's Early and Mid-Career Researcher Forum, and in 2017 was selected as one of Science and Technology Australia's Superstars of STEM.

Professor Graeme Nimmo

Professor Graeme Nimmo is State Director of Microbiology for Pathology Queensland and Professor at Griffith University School of Medicine. His research interests include healthcare- and community-associated MRSA, the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance and molecular typing of healthcare-associated and community-associated pathogens. He is a past-president of the Australian Society for Antimicrobials, Deputy-Chair of the Australian Group for Antimicrobial Resistance, and a member of the National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council. He is a member of the CLSI Working Group on Analysis and Presentation of Cumulative Antimicrobial Susceptibility Data, is a member of the Australian Strategic Technical Advisory Group on Antimicrobial Resistance and is chair of the MRSA Working Group of the International Society for Chemotherapy. He has published over 130 peer reviewed scientific papers.

Doctor Trisha Peel

Doctor Trisha Peel, MBBS (hons) FRACP GradCert(ClinRes) PHD, is an academic infectious diseases and antimicrobial stewardship physician. She is appointed as a Senior Research Fellow and leads the Surgical Infection Research Group, Monash University and Alfred Health. In addition, Dr Peel is the Clinical Lead for the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Epworth Healthcare and was involved in the development and implementation of the Stewardship program across the Epworth Healthcare. Dr Peel was awarded he PhD in 2013 and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Mayo Clinic, USA in 2014 under the supervision of Prof Robin Patel. Her research focuses on optimisation of antimicrobial use and patient outcomes in the surgical environment. She has received over $9M in NHMRC funding as a chief investigator, including two project grants and two Centres for Research Excellence. She is currently the lead investigator on the NHMRC funded ASAP Trial (APP1120331) a large multicentre randomised controlled trial examining surgical site infection prevention. In addition, Dr Peel leads the Tertiary Hospital Stream of the NHMRC National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship (APP1079625) and is a chief investigator on the NHMRC CRE Total Joint Replacement: Optimising Outcomes, Equity, Cost-effectiveness and Patient Selection (APP1116325) examining surgical stewardship in orthopaedic surgery.

Doctor Jenny Robson
Dr Jenny Robson graduated from the University of Queensland and has worked at Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology since 1989. She is interested in all things infectious, but particularly zoonoses, immunisation, tropical and travel medicine, antibiotic resistance, infection control, and the molecular diagnoses of infectious diseases.

Doctor Ben Rogers

Dr Ben Rogers is an Infectious Disease specialist at Monash Health and the Monash University School of Clinical Sciences, Victoria. Dr Rogers completed his PhD at The University of Queensland in 2014, researching the epidemiology and management of multi-resistant gram-negative infections in the Australian region. He works in clinical infectious diseases at Monash Health. He runs an active research program including a focus on gram-negative resistance epidemiology, infections in the immunocompromised and is involved in a number of investigator initiated and industry sponsored clinical trials.

Doctor Naomi Runnegar

Dr Naomi Runnegar is an Infectious Diseases Physician and Clinical Microbiologist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and a Senior Lecturer in Medicine at the University of Queensland. Her specific interests include the surveillance of healthcare-associated infection, medical education in infectious diseases and microbiology, and infections in haematology and oncology patients.

Doctor Sanmarie Schlebusch

Dr Sanmarié Schlebusch is Director of Microbiology at Mater Pathology. Dr Schlebusch obtained her MBChB from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. After moving to Australia in 2002 she initially worked as a general practitioner before specialising in microbiology and obtaining her FRCPA in 2009. She has worked in both private and public pathology before joining Mater Pathology in 2010. 

Dr Schlebusch has a keen interest in modern technologies for diagnosis of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. She has performed research on staphylococcal toxic shock and developed a PCR to detect the toxic shock gene in S. aureus and she has been the first microbiologist in Queensland to publish on the use of MALDI-TOF-MS. MALDI-TOF-MS (matrix assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry) is contemporary technology which can identify micro-organisms within minutes and has been introduced at Mater Pathology. 

Doctor Norelle Sherry

Dr Norelle Sherry is an Infectious Diseases Physician & Clinical Microbiologist with appointments at Austin Health and the MDU at the Peter Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne. She is currently completing a PhD on genomic surveillance for Gram negative resistance, and has been involved in the development and recent implementation of the web-based AGAR Data Entry Portal.

A/Professor Rhonda Stuart

Dr Rhonda Stuart is an Infectious Diseases physician and clinical researcher at Monash Health and Monash University. She is Medical Director of the Infection Prevention and Epidemiology Unit at Monash Health, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at Monash University, and a member of the AMS team within Monash Health. She received a PhD in Nosocomial Tuberculosis and the Healthcare Worker in 2004 from Monash University. Her interests include hospital epidemiology, Infection Control, AMS and infection control in the residential aged care setting and teaching of medical and nursing students. Dr Stuart is the Chair of the ACSQHC Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard Topic Working GRoup, a member of the National Prescribing Service Antimicrobial Resistance Reference Group and the Chair of the ASID Residential Aged Care working group. She has engaged with infection control policy makers through her contributions to working groups and writing position papers and guidelines for local and national bodies, including ACSQHC, HICSIG and ASID. She is on a number of quality and safety committees and working groups at Monash Health. 

Dr Stuart's experience in translational research includes involvement in the development of clinical guidelines for the infection control management of Clostridium difficile, prevention of catheter associated urinary tract infections and research into ways to prevent Staphylococcus aureus bacteriaemia due to peripheral intravenous catheters. She is also currently involved in numerous research grants looking at antimicrobial stewardship in residential aged care. Dr Stuart has over 50 publications in peer reviewed journals, and is a reviewer for many of the same journals. She has been a co-organiser in a course in antimicrobial stewardship and infection control for advanced trainees in microbiology and infection control, held in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013, which attracted over 40 participants each year. She contributes to research training including supervising medical students and physician advanced trainee projects.

A/Professor Sebastiaan Van Hal

Sebastiaan van Hal obtained his medical degree from The University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 1995. After working extensively in Africa and Europe, he moved to Australia and completed his training in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology. He is a Staff Specialist at the Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and a Conjoint Associate Professor at the School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney. He has published over a 100 peer reviewed papers focusing on the consequences and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecium. In 2014 he spent time at the Oxford Genomics Centre acquiring the skills required for translation of microbial genomics into hospital epidemiology and is responsible for this evolving service at RPAH. He is also an active member of AGAR (Australian Group of Antimicrobial Resistance) and AURA (Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia) and ANZMIG (Australian New Zealand Mycology Interest Group) which have led to several prominent publications including the development of the Antifungal Consensus guidelines.


Dr Bhakti Vasant

Dr. Vasant is a public health physician at Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Her interests include public health management of communicable and noncommunicable diseases, immunisation, health of indigenous and minority communities, and public health response to climate change.