The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: How is selective metal ion transport achieved at the host-pathogen interface?

McDevitt group

Biological discrimination between metal ions remains poorly understood, yet essential to their function in the chemically complex environment of the host-pathogen interface. Recent studies from our group have shown that many bacterial metal ion transporters are not restricted to solely interacting with the ion(s) that they import. These observations have challenged the prevailing dogma for how biological selectivity of metals is achieved. To resolve this question, this project will use state-of-the-art methods, including single molecule FRET, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and reconstituted proteoliposomes, to reveal how bacterial metal ion transporters achieve selectivity for their physiological substrates.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Associate Professor Christopher McDevitt 

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Alex Carey Hulyer

Project availability

McDevitt group

2 vacancies

Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections
Host Pathogens Interactions
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research

Metal ions are essential for cellular chemistry in every cell in all forms of life. Research in the McDevitt group seeks to understand the role of metal ions in bacteria and how they influence host-pathogen interactions. Our specific research interests are: to understand how bacteria acquire essential metal ions from the environment; characterise the cellular roles of metal ions in bacteria; and elucidate the role of metal ions at host-pathogen interface. By understanding the chemical biology of bacteria, our work opens the way to developing novel antimicrobials to starve invading pathogens of crucial trace elements.