The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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

Dr Nichollas Scott

Dr Nichollas Scott

(03) 8344 6724 |

Laboratory Head
Immunology, Bacterial and Parasitic Infections, Emerging Infections
Discovery Research
Department of Microbiology and Immunology (DMI)
Lab Group(s):
Scott group

Dr Nichollas Scott's work focuses on the identification and characterisation of microbial enzymes which chemically link carbohydrates to proteins. Through the addition of carbohydrates to proteins, a process known as protein glycosylation, microbes are able to radically alter the function of proteins. Within a range of infections protein glycosylation is used for both defensive and offensive processes; enabling pathogens to fortify themselves against the host immune response or to disarm the host’s ability to resist infection. By better understanding these systems, the goal of my research aims to develop approaches to target these enzymes for antimicrobial strategies. To achieve this, my work focuses on developing new methodologies to monitor glycosylation, characterising the proteins which are modified by these enzymes and understanding the role of microbial glycosylation systems during pathogenesis.

  • Key Achievements
    • In 2012, Nick was the recipient of a CJ Martin Fellowship (NHMRC Australia) and moved to the University of Alberta (2011-2012) and then University of British Columbia (2012-2015) to continue his training in MS analysis incorporating the use of quantitative MS approaches to understand properties of proteins not self evident from sequence alone. In 2013, Nick received a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship to extend his training in Canada, enabling him to expand his work to look at not only glycosylation, but also global protein interaction analyses. During his postdoctoral training, Nick has also been the recipient of multiple awards and grants, and has published multiple research articles.


      • 2018 Doherty Collaborative Grants Scheme
      • 2017 Ken Mitchelhill Early Career Award
      • 2016 Australasian Proteomics Society International Early Career Award
      • 2013 Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Trainee Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (Canada)
      • 2012 NHMRC CJ Martin Overseas Biomedical Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

      Conference proceedings

      • 2018 Elected Co-chair for the 2020 FASEB Conference in "Microbial Polysaccharides"
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    • Role of O-linked glycosylation system across the Burkholderia genus

      Protein glycosylation, the chemical addition of sugars to proteins, is an important but poorly understood aspect of bacterial physiology. Within the Burkholderia genus, we have discovered a highly conserved O-linked glycosylation system. The conservation of this system across pathogenic and non-pathogenic species suggests that glycosylation plays a far more fundamental role in the physiology of Bukholderia than previously thought. The goal of this project is to understand the role and diversity of glycosylation in Bukholderia. By studying glycosylation within Burkholderia we aim to gain a fundamental understanding of this biological process and how it contributes to bacterial survival.

    • Development of novel proteomic tools to explore Burkholderia glycosylation dependent pathogenesis

      Bacterial protein glycosylation, once thought to be a rare event, has now been shown to be widespread. To date multiple general glycosylation systems have been identified yet the precise role in bacterial physiology are still unknown. A common theme is the requirement of glycosylation for persistence/virulence in mammalian hosts. Within this project we aim to explore the role of glycosylation in Burkholderia spp virulence in the mammalian host. By coupling recent innovations in metabolic labeling, redox probes and mass spectrometry workflows we seek to explore how glycosylation influence intracellular survival to increase our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of Burkholderia.

    Research Groups
    • Scott group

      The Scott group focuses on the identification and characterisation microbial mediate protein glycosylation. This post translational modification allows pathogens to radically alter the function of proteins both within them, and their hosts. Within a range of pathogens such as malaria and Burkholderia, microbial protein glycosylation is used for both defensive and offensive processes, enabling pathogens to fortify themselves against the host immune response or to disarm the host’s ability to resist infection. Using mass spectrometry-based approaches, the Scott group seeks to develop methodologies to identify and track microbial glycosylation events to understand how microbes remodel their proteome and that of the hosts. 

Full University of Melbourne profile