The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

EDUCATION

Research Projects

Project: Buruli ulcers’ Most Wanted – Understanding the mosquito associated with the flesh-eating bacteria, Mycobacterium ulcerans.

McVernon Group

Aedes notoscriptus has been identified in association with the emerging bacterial pathogen Mycobacterium ulcerans as well as, being a vector of Ross River virus. Key ecological features such as bloodmeal feeding patterns and movement dynamics of individuals, are, however, not clearly defined. This project will involve both laboratory and field-based components. Firstly, field collections will be conducted in the Mornington Peninsula using a combination of trapping techniques, with the aim of obtaining haematophagous ‘blood feeding’ insects including Ae. notoscriptus. A range of entomological and molecular techniques will be used for insect identification, with Ae. notoscriptus screened for a series of genetic markers to understand movement estimates. Additionally, insects identified to contain a bloodmeal will be screened for host DNA using a high-throughput metabarcoding DNA sequencing pipeline. Both aims of this project will feed into a larger project, which is attempting to control Mycobacterium ulcerns in Victoria.

This project would suit students with skills in molecular biology and a keen interest in field work, most likely coming from undergraduate studies in Science (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Computational Biology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Science and Microbiology). During this project the potential candidate will obtain experience in planning field work, setting insect traps, some basic insect identification, next-generation library preparation, sequencing and bioinformatic analysis of sequencing data. This project is a collaboration between Agriculture Victoria in Bundoora and Bio21 in Parkville, with the successful candidate spending time in both institutes.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Stacey Lynch and Dr Peter Mee (Agriculture Victoria), and Professor Ary Hoffmann and Professor Tim Stinear

Contact: Dr Stacey Lynch or Professor Ary Hoffmann 

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

McVernon Group

j.mcvernon@unimelb.edu.au

9 vacancies

Themes
Immunology
Viral Infectious Diseases
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Epidemiology

Professor Jodie McVernon is a physician with subspecialty qualifications in public health and vaccinology. She has extensive expertise in clinical vaccine trials, epidemiologic studies and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, gained at the University of Oxford, Health Protection Agency London and the University of Melbourne. Her work focuses on the application of a range of cross-disciplinary methodological approaches, including mathematical and computational models, to synthesise insights from basic biology, epidemiological data and sociological research. These models advance understanding of the observed epidemiology of infectious diseases and inform understanding of optimal interventions for disease control.