Vector and Waterborne Pathogens Group

PhD Projects

We are very much in a growth phase and are always keen to talk to students interested in PhD studies.

Honours Projects

Does sheep drinking water source pose an animal health risk?
Cryptosporidium and Giardia are protozoan parasites that can cause diarrhoea in a wide range of hosts including humans, livestock and wild animals. This project aims to determine the prevalence of faecal pathogens (including Cryptosporidium, Giardia Salmonella and E. coli) in dam water compared to bore or scheme water. The data generated from this study will be used to determine the risks to livestock from drinking water from dams.

Contact details for further information: Caroline Jacobson C.Jacobson@murdoch.edu.au

Prevalence and genetic characterization of blood-parasites in marsupials
Theileria, Babesia and Trypanosoma are haemoprotozoa (blood parasites) transmitted by insect vectors that can cause anaemia, fever and death. There has been no systematic study of native Australian haemoprotozoa and little is known of their epidemiology and impact. This study will provide important information on not only the biology of haemoprotozoa infecting marsupials as well as the transmission dynamics of haemoprotozoaand will also identify if there are any public health implications.

Contact details for further information: Una Ryan Una.Ryan@Murdoch.edu.au

Development of a “gut-on-a chip” bioreactor for culturing for Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium is an enteric parasite that infects a wide range of hosts including humans, domestic and wild animals and currently represents the major public health concern of water utilities in developed nations. This project proposes to develop for the first time a miniaturised computer-controlled bioreactor that provides a continuous flow of nutrients and oxygen at a constant concentration precisely determined by a computer.  This  system which allows a large number of experiments and the identification of the culture conditions necessary to grow Cryptosporidium in a cost-effective way without host cells, that can then be upscaled to produce the large quantities needed for various studies.

Contact details for further information: Una Ryan Una.Ryan@Murdoch.edu.au

Identification and characterisation of bacteria and protozoa in Australian ticks.

This project will use the MiSeq NGS platform to screen Australian ticks for microorganisms. The study uses innovative genetic techniques to increase the knowledge about previously elusive organisms and will contribute to developing robust diagnostic tests for Australian tick-borne diseases. We have over 20,000 ticks in our collection, so we can designed a unique project based on your interests.

Contact details for further information: Charlotte Oskam c.oskam@Murdoch.edu.au

Characterising the bacterial microbiome in avian ticks using Next Generation Sequencing.
This project will investigate the ticks that parasitise Australian avifauna and the bacterial diversity harboured within the ticks. This project combines microscope-based parasitological techniques and advanced molecular biology using the NGS platforms (Illumina MiSeq) for deep sequencing and metagenomics of bacterial microorganisms. The study uses innovative genetic techniques to increase the knowledge about previously elusive organisms and will contribute to developing robust diagnostic tests for Australian tick-borne diseases.
Contact details for further information: Charlotte Oskam c.oskam@Murdoch.edu.au

DVM Projects

We have several DVM projects focusing on different aspecits of canine/feline tick-borne diseases.