The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Evolution in Staphylococcus aureus – what makes a successful hospital-adapted clone?

Howden Group

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the major causes of hospital-acquired infections globally. Our laboratory has been investigating the genomic and phenotypic evolution of the major MRSA clones and has now uncovered a major shift in the clonal structure of MRSA in Australia. Little is known about why some clones of Staphylococcus aureus are successful, and how they become embedded in our healthcare institutions. This project will use techniques including genomics and bioinformatics, statistical genetics, phenotypic comparisons (including models of infection) and mutagenesis to reveal the mechanisms and predictors of successful MRSA clones. 

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Professor Ben Howden

Project Co-supervisor

Sarah Baines

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Howden Group

[email protected]

3 vacancies

Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections
Host Pathogens Interactions
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Global Health
Indigenous Health

Research Projects 2019 | 19 The Howden group is embedded in the state public health laboratory - the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory (MDU PHL) - with expertise in pathogen genomics and antimicrobial resistance, including functional genomics technologies and models of disease. We complement these molecular biology studies with epidemiological and clinical studies to address a broad range of issues related to invasive bacterial diseases in humans, especially those caused by staphylococci, enterococci and other antimicrobial-resistant species (CPE). Working closely with scientists in the MDU PHL, we investigate the epidemiology, evolution and spread of bacterial pathogens of public health significance such as Neisseria gonorrhoea, Listeria monocytogenes, Legionella spp. and Salmonella spp. 

Howden Group Current Projects