Our people

Executive Team

Ben Howden (Medical Director)

Professor Benjamin Howden is Director of the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory, and Medical Director of Doherty Applied Microbial Genomics in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne, within the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. He is also an Infectious Diseases Physician at Austin Health in Melbourne. His research interests have been driven by working in the hospital system, and more recently in public health, where antibiotic resistant pathogens such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococci, and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae are major problems. During his doctoral studies at Monash University (2004-2008) he used emerging genomic technologies to explore the molecular determinants of reduced vancomycin susceptibility in S. aureus. His current research activities include the application of genomics to understand the emergence, spread and pathogenesis of antimicrobial resistance bacterial pathogens; understanding the mechanisms and impacts of antimicrobial resistance, microbial adaptation, and changes in host-pathogen interactions during persistent Staphylococcus aureus infection; and exploring therole of genomics in public health and clinical microbiology.

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Tim Stinear (Scientific Director)

Associate Professor Tim Stinear is a molecular microbiologist who leads a bacterial genomics research group in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. He received his PhD in Microbiology from Monash University in 2001 followed by a 3-year postdoctoral period at the Institut Pasteur, Paris. His research group has been at the forefront of implementing new high-throughput DNA sequencing technologies to understand how bacterial populations evolve, with a focus on antibiotic resistance and pathogenesis in hospital superbugs such as Staphylococcus aureus (Golden Staph) and Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE). His team also studies pathogenesis and transmission in important mycobacterial pathogens including Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium ulcerans.

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Senior Management Team

Torsten Seemann (Lead Bioinformatician)

A/Prof Torsten Seemann is an internationally recognised bioinformatician specialising in bacterial genomics. Over the last decade he has been at the forefront of creating tools and developing methods to better analyse data from new sequencing technologies to help answer important questions in clinical and public health microbiology. His ability to turn "reads into results" has resulted in over  60 peer reviewed publications and many international speaking invitations.  His software tools have thousands of users around the world, and he is best known for his genome annotation system Prokka. He believes strongly in open science and makes all his software and teaching material available in open-source repositories and strives to publish in open-access journals. He authors the popular technical blog The Genome Factory and participates regularly in social media and online forums.

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Glen Carter (Senior Project Officer)

Dr Glen Carter is a molecular microbiologist with expertise in the development of enabling technologies for use with genetically intractable bacterial pathogens. He received his PhD in Molecular Microbiology from The University of Nottingham (UK) in 2005 followed by a 10 year postdoctoral period at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. During this time he worked primarily on the hospital acquired superbug Clostridium difficile as well as several other clostridial pathogens including Clostridium sordellii and C. perfringens. His research focussed on understanding the roles of the major toxins produced by these organisms in disease, and on the regulatory cascades and environmental signals responsible for controlling the production of these toxins.  Most recently his research has focussed on the identification of small molecule inhibitors that can be used to treat C. difficile infections.


Name  Organisation
Dieter BulachAcademic Specialist  Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Andrew Buultjens, casual      University of Melbourne
Sarah Bains, casual  University of Melbourne

Steering Committee

Name Organisation
Ben Howden, Director Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory
Tim Stinear Senior Research Fellow University of Melbourne - Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Dieter Bulach, Academic Specialist University of Melbourne, VLSCI
Kathryn Holt, Research Fellow Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne
Paul Johnson , ID Physician Austin Health
Susan Ballard, Head of Molecular Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory
Torsten Seemann, Lead Bioinformatician University of Melbourne, VLSCI
Glen Carter, Academic Specialist University of Melbourne - Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences