While studying for my undergraduate degrees at Victoria University of Wellington, NZ, I took a summer semester paper in Environmental Microbiology, which included a trip to the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) to look at microbes that live in hot springs. This sparked an interest in extremophiles. I then moved to Hamilton to study at the University of Waikato under the supervision of Prof. Craig Cary at the Thermophile Research Unit (TRU), identifying the microbial diversity of thermophilic communities in hot mineral soils of Tramway Ridge, Mount Erebus, Antarctica. After finishing my MSc, I moved to Australia and worked at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville for 4 years as a Lab Technician for Dr. Nicole Webster, looking at microbial communities in sponges on the GBR, and Dr. Lone Hoj, in aquaculture.

I then moved to Brisbane to undertake a PhD at the University of Queensland with Prof. Phil Hugenholtz and Prof. Gene Tyson, studying non-photosynthetic Cyanobacteria and completed my PhD in 2015. I stayed on at ACE as a post-doc and in 2018 I was awarded an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), which I started in July 2019. My project aims to identify additional members from the non-photosynthetic cyanobacterial lineages and characterise their functional capabilities. My interests also lie in Australian marsupial microbiomes and how they cope with metabolising toxic eucalyptus.

Qualifications: 
PhD in Microbial Genomics, University of Queensland
MSc with honours, University of Waikato
BBMedSc and BCA, Victoria University of Wellington

Evolution of the marsupial gut microbiome and adaptation to plant toxins

Animals are reliant on their gut microbiota (collectively called the microbiome) for health and well-being.

Understanding the koala microbiome

Understanding the role of microbes in koala digestion and their potential to buffer digestive efficiency against the impacts of climate change as well as from translocation to areas with different species eucalyptus trees.

Extracting genomes of uncultured members of the human microbiome

An important aspect of our work with host-associated microbiomes involves investigating members of these communities that have yet to be cultured within the laboratory.

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Australian Centre for Ecogenomics
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University of Queensland
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Brisbane, Australia

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