The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Mapping elemental fluxes during host-pathogen interaction

McDevitt group

During infection, the host modulates tissue concentrations of key metal ions (e.g. iron, copper and zinc) to either starve or poison invading bacteria. This project will investigate the temporal and spatial interplay between pathogenic bacteria and the flux of inorganic chemical components at the host-pathogen interface. This will be achieved using an innovative new approach called elemental bio-imaging that allows us to quantitatively map the distribution of metal ions within host organs during infection. This study will provide new insights into how the host manipulates metal ion concentrations to resist bacterial infection.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Associate Professor Christopher McDevitt 

Project Co-supervisor

Professor Philip Doble 

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.