The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Pathogenesis of pneumococcal pneumonia

Satzke Group

Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia and a leading killer of children worldwide. However, it is also commonly found as an asymptomatic coloniser of the upper respiratory tract, particularly in children. We are interested in elucidating the molecular processes by which the pneumococcus can transition from the carriage to infection state and identifying signals of pneumococcal pneumonia.  Previous work in our laboratory using clinical samples collected from children in The Gambia, West Africa, hospitalised with pneumonia, has identified several pneumococcal genes that were upregulated in the lung. Recently, we have collected clinical samples from children with severe pneumonia at the Royal Children’s Hospital. The project aims will be to examine pneumococcal gene expression in samples collected from pneumonia patients at the Royal Children’s Hospital, and elucidate the role of several candidate genes in pneumococcal pneumonia. To do this, you will use a variety of approaches including measurement of gene and/or protein expression (using methods such as qRT-PCR, RNA-seq, western blotting, and ELISA) and analysing their importance through genetic manipulation of pneumococci and functional assays. Access to clinical samples such as pleural fluid provides the unique opportunity to examine pneumococcal gene expression during pneumonia. This project will provide exciting new data on the pathogenesis of pneumococcal pneumonia.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Associate Professor Catherine Satzke

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Jonathan Jacobson

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Satzke Group

[email protected]

2 vacancies

Host Pathogens Interactions
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Global Health
Translational and Clinical Research

The Satzke group conducts research in a clinically-relevant context. We focus on the microbiology of two pathogens of major global health importance (pneumococcus and group A streptococcus) to understand their pathogenesis, interaction with viruses, and how infections can be best prevented with vaccines. We collaborate closely with immunologists, clinicians and epidemiologists, including in countries in the Asia-Pacific region, to facilitate translation and global impact.

Satzke Group Current Projects