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) causes a range of mild to severe infections, ranging from sore throat to streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.  Importantly, Streptococcus pyogenes infections can lead to serious sequelae such as rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. Streptococcus 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 expression of bacterial virulence genes. There is recent clinical epidemiologic evidence that viruses are also important in Streptococcus pyogenes pathogenesis, but little is known about this process. In this project, you will use a murine model of Streptococcus pyogenes colonisation to examine the effect of respiratory viruses (e.g. influenza) on Streptococcus pyogenes colonisation, including for transmission (spread to co-housed littermates) and disease, and the mechanisms involved. To achieve these aims, a range of methods will be employed including animal and tissue handling, immunological assays, traditional microbiology and molecular approaches such as qPCR, and gene expression analyses. Your project will provide important novel data on key components of Streptococcus pyogenes pathogenesis, and inform a pathway towards improving strategies for preventing Streptococcus 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

[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