Dr Michael Duffy (group leader)
Dr Michael Duffy did his PhD in Mycoplasma pneumoniae at the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Melbourne. This basic research identified a species-specific, immunodominant surface antigen that he developed into a serodiagnostic for atypical pneumonia currently produced under licence by a commercial company. He then undertook post-doctoral research into the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum for the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, but based at the Eijkman Institute in Jakarta Indonesia. He returned to University of Melbourne where his research continued into the highly variable P. falciparum proteins expressed on the infected red blood cell surface in malaria. This work contributed to the identification and characterisation of a parasite protein responsible for malaria during pregnancy. Currently he is investigating parasite proteins responsible for severe malaria that might be exploited in vaccine development. In parallel he has investigated how elements of chromatin structure regulate gene expression in P. falciparum. This work developed through his study of the epigenetic control of antigenic variation in P. falciparum and has diversified into the broader study of unique chromatin proteins in P. falciparum, including variant histones and bromodomain proteins. The latter are of particular interest as potential therapeutic targets.
Dr Lee Yeoh (postdoctoral fellow)
Dr Jingyi Tang (postdoctoral fellow)
Dr Scott Chisolm (postdoctoral fellow)
Ms Hannah Nguyen (PhD student)
Mr Suffian Azizan (PhD student)
Ms Kushla-Rose Purvis (Masters student)