BSc (Monash), PhD (Monash) Microbiology
Professor and ARC Future Fellow
+61 7 336 53306

I completed my PhD at Monash University and postdoctoral studies at the Technical University of Denmark. In 2001, I was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Danish Natural Sciences Research Council and was subsequently appointed to Lecturer. I joined The University of Queensland in 2004 as a Senior Lecturer and was promoted to Reader in 2007 and to Professor in 2010. I was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship in 2011.

Brief Research Description: 
Bacterial Pathogenesis
Research Focus and Collaborations: 

The common research theme in my laboratory is the study of surface proteins that mediate adhesion, aggregation and biofilm formation by bacterial pathogens. Adhesion is the primary mechanism by which bacteria colonize host tissue surfaces and initiate disease. My research deals primarily with pathogenic Escherichia coli that cause intestinal and extra-intestinal infections. A major focus is uropathogenic E. coli (including multidrug resistant strains), where we study the role of adhesins and other surface components in the development of biofilms and colonisation of the urinary tract. Biofilms are microbial communities characterized by cells that are irreversibly attached to a substratum or interface or to each other. My laboratory also investigates mechanisms of adhesion and biofilm formation by other multidrug resistant pathogens including Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterobacter species.


International: A/Prof Jean-Marc Ghigo, Pasteur Institute, France. Prof Scott Hultgren, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, USA. Prof Tim Walsh, University of Cardiff, UK. Prof Ian Henderson, University of Birmingham, UK. Dr Mathew Upton, Univerity of Manchester, UK. Prof Tim Ravasi, KAUST, Saudi Arabia.

National: Dr Scott Beatson (UQ), Prof Alastair McEwan (UQ), A/Prof Matthew Sweet (UQ), Prof David Paterson (UQ), Prof Jenny Martin (UQ), Dr Rowland Cobbold (UQ), Dr Glen Ulett (Griffith), Dr BegoƱa Heras (LaTrobe), Prof Kate Moore (UNSW), Dr Darren Trott (U Adel).


Funded Projects: 

NHMRC Project Grant 2014-2017
Functional and genomic analysis of the globally disseminated multidrug resistant Escherichia coli ST131 clone
Total value of grant: $793,056

NHMRC Project Grant 2013-2015
Role of autotransporter proteins in uropathogenic E. coli infections (M.A. Schembri)
Total value of grant: $590,222

NHMRC Project Grant 2012-2014
Evolution and pathogenicity of NDM-1 positive Escherichia coli (M.A. Schembri, T.R. Walsh, S.A. Beatson)
Total value of grant: $622,350

NHMRC Project Grant 2011-2013
Role of macrophages in uropathogenic E. coli infections (M.A. Schembri, M.J. Sweet, G.C. Ulett, T. Ravassi)
Total value of grant: $555,048.

NHMRC Project Grant 2011-2013
Escherichia coli ST131: an emerging pathogen (M.A. Schembri, S.A. Beatson)
Total value of grant: $555,048

NHMRC Project Grant 2010-2012
Adhesins of uropathogenic Escherichia coli (M.A. Schembri)
Total value of grant: $391,125

ARC Discovery Project 2010-2012
Disulfide catalysis and protein folding in bacterial virulence (M.A .Schembri, A.G. McEwan, B. Heras)
Total value of grant: $300,000.

ARC Discovery Project 2010-2012
Autotransporter proteins of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (M.A. Schembri)
Total value of grant: $300,000

National and International Research Alliances Program 2009-2011
Development of a livestock vaccine to reduce food-borne enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) infections in humans (R Cobbold, W Jorgensen, MA Schembri, T Mahony)
Total value of grant: $2,000,000


MICR3001: Microbes & Human Health

Significant Professional Activities and Awards: 

Professional Activities:

  • Fellow of the Australian Societly for Microbiology (FASM)
  • Divisional Chair, Australian Society for Microbiology meeting, Brisbane 2011
  • Chair, BacPath12 (Tangalooma 2013)
  • ASM Queensland FASM advisor


  • ARC Future Fellowship (July 2011 - June 2015)
  • Australian Society for Microbiology Frank Fenner Award (2011).
  • UQ Research Foundation excellence award (2006).
Recent Supervision:

PhD: Principal Advisor 6, Associate Advisor 2 Honours: 1

Group Members:

Dr Timothy Kidd NHMRC Early Career Fellow

Dr Alvin Lo Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Selected Publications: 
No valid records found.