The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Streptococcal transmission and disease

Satzke Group

The bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus, “Strep A”) causes a range of mild to severe infections, from sore throat to toxic shock syndrome.  Importantly, S. pyogenes infections can lead to serious sequelae, such as rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. S. pyogenes can also colonise a variety of human tissues, including the upper respiratory tract and skin in healthy people.

In a related bacterial species, Streptococcus pneumoniae, we have shown that viral co-infection can enhance bacterial virulence, by increasing bacterial density and inflammation in the host, and by driving changes in bacterial virulence gene expression. There is recent clinical epidemiologic evidence that viruses are also important in S. pyogenes pathogenesis, but little is known about this process.

In this project, you will use murine and cell-culture models to examine the effect of viruses on S. pyogenes colonisation, transmission (spread to co-housed littermates) and disease, and the mechanisms involved. To achieve these aims, you will employ a range of methods such as animal and tissue handling, cell-culture, molecular approaches (such as qPCR and gene expression analyses), immunological assays and traditional microbiology.

Your project will provide important novel data on key components of S. pyogenes pathogenesis, and inform a pathway towards improving strategies for preventing S. pyogenes infections.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Associate Professor Catherine Satzke

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Jonathan Jacobson
Professor Andrew Steer

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Satzke Group

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.

Our laboratory also has the resources and expertise to adapt flexibly depending on the findings you generate throughout the year, or to additional COVID-19 restrictions. These include access to clinical and laboratory isolates, clinical samples, and bioinformatics expertise.

Satzke Group Current Projects