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Professor Roy Robins-Browne

Professor Roy Robins-Browne

Professor Roy Robins-Browne

(03) 8344 8275 | [email protected]

Position:
Laboratory Head
Theme(s):
Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections, Enteric infections, Immunology
Discipline(s):
Education & Professional Development
Unit(s):
Department of Microbiology and Immunology (DMI)
Lab Group(s):
Robins-Browne Group

Professor Roy Robins-Browne is a clinical microbiologist and research scientist, who previously held the positions of Director of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, and Head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. Roy was the inaugural Professor/Director of Microbiological Research at the Royal Children's Hospital and is an Honorary Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. He is also co-leader of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

  • Key Achievements
    • Roy's major research interests are the genetic and molecular basis of pathogenesis of bacterial infections, in particular, those caused by the varieties E. coli that cause diarrhoea. Roy has co-authored around 300 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on these and related topics, and together with his collaborators, has been the recipient of more than $35 million in competitive grant funding. Roy has supervised more than 40 Bachelor of Science Honours students and more than 20 PhD students to completion. Apart from his research interests, Roy has a strong commitment to medical education, having coordinated and taught courses in medical microbiology to medical and science students for more than 35 years.

    Publications
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    Projects
    • Characterisation of enteropathogenic E. coli

      Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) is a leading cause of diarrhoea and death in children in non-industrialised countries. Roy’s group are investigating the phylogenetics of EPEC to improve their understanding of how different sub-types of these bacteria develop and spread. A key objective of this work is to identify potential virulence-associated genes in so-called atypical strains of EPEC that could be used to detect these bacteria in clinical samples, and as targets to block their virulence. Their research in this area includes the development of computer-based methods to subtype individual strains of E. coli and predict their susceptibility to antibiotics. 

    • Development of new types of antimicrobial agents

      The increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics poses an urgent health problem worldwide.  As all current antimicrobials act by interfering with bacterial growth, they tend to select for resistant bacterial variants.  A focus of Roy’s group’s research is to develop novel classes of antimicrobials that act selectively on bacterial virulence without affecting growth. Potential advantages of such agents are that they are unlikely to select for resistant forms, and that they will not interfere with the commensal bacteria which normally live in the gut. In this regard, they have discovered the first antibacterial that inhibits a key virulence regulator by blocking its ability to bind to DNA. As predicted, this agent does not select for resistant variants or disrupt the gut microbiota.

    Research Groups
    • Robins-Browne Group

      Research in Roy’s laboratory is partly focused on how E. coli causes diarrhoea, with the aims of identifying better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent these infections. Another theme is the development of new types of antibacterial agents.


      Lab Team

      Robins-Browne Group

      • Senior Research Officer
      • Dr Marija Tauschek
        Senior Research Officer
      • Dr Dianna Hocking
        Research Officer
      • Ms Danielle Ingle
        PhD student
      • Ms Jayne Manning
        PhD student
      • Ms Sutthirut Srisuwan
        Visiting PhD student
      • Ms Carla Hodson
        M Phil student
      • Ms Rachel Pascoe
        M Biomed Sci student
      • Mr Wayne Zheng
        UROP student

Full University of Melbourne profile