BSc & BSc Hons 1 Microbiology (Queensland); PhD Microbiology (Queensland)
National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellow
+61 7 334 61623
Brief Research Description: 
Infectious diseases and vaccine development
Research Focus and Collaborations: 

My research focuses on the mechanism by which the group A streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes; GAS) causes invasive disease and GAS vaccine development. S. pyogenes is the etiologic agent of numerous suppurative diseases, ranging from mild skin infections such as pharyngitis, scarlet fever, impetigo and cellulitis, to severe invasive diseases such as septicemia, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis. GAS is placed within the “top 10″ infectious disease causes of human deaths worldwide. Indigenous Australians suffer the highest rates of affliction with GAS diseases in the World. Of the over 100 M serotypes, the M1T1 clone which emerged in the mid-1980s and disseminated globally, causes most deaths and morbidity. 

Funded Projects: 

NHMRC Program Grant (administered by the University of Adelaide) 2015-2019
Proteins and glycans in host-pathogen interactions: targets for novel drugs and vaccines
Total value of grant: $3,320,587

ARC Discovery Project 2014-2016
Evolution of bacterial pathogenesis
Total value of grant: $372,000

NHMRC Project Grant 2013-2016
Interaction of group A streptococci with intracellular innate immune defence
Total value of grant: $789,523

NHMRC Research Fellowship 2010-2014
Total value of grant $677,500

NHMRC Development Grant 2010-2012
Preclinical studies of group A streptococcal vaccine candidates
Total value of grant: $483,600

NHMRC Project Grant 2009-2012
Does viral programming cause group A streptococcal invasive disease? 
Total value of grant: $544,843

ARC Discovery Project 2009-2011
Mapping cell wall and surface structures of gram-positive cocci
Total value of grant: $142,000


Professor Walker primarily contributes to the undergraduate subject Microbes & Human Health MICR3001, giving a series of lectures on bacterial pathogenesis and vaccine development.

Teaching awards:

  • 2000: Australian College of Education (Illawarra/South Coast NSW Chapter) excellence in tertiary teaching
  • 2003: University of Wollongong Vice Chancellor's award for outstanding teaching and learning in science
  • 2003: Australian Society of Microbiology David White excellence in teaching

1991   High level expression of unfused Bordetella pertussis filamentous haemagglutinin for production of acellular and live oral vaccines against whooping cough. D4111531 A1 German patent application filed, PCT/EP92/00814 international patent filed. Inventors: Dr. M.J. Walker, Dr. C.A. Guzman and Prof. K.N. Timmis.

1991  High level expression of Bordetella pertussis pertussis holotoxin in Bvg-negative Bordetella bronchiseptica for production of acellular vaccines against whooping cough. D4113385 A1 German patent application filed, PCT/EP92/00910 international patent filed, inventors: M.J. Walker, K.N. Timmis.

1992  Antigen-containing liposomes for oral immunization. D4136553 A1 German patent application filed, PCT/2729/59 international patent application filed, inventors: M.J. Walker, H. Brahmbhatt, R.M. Brownlie, D.C. White, J. Wehland, M.W. Fountain, C. Guzman and K.N. Timmis

2008   Group A streptococcal pharmaceutical compositions and methods thereof. PCT/AU2008/0011236 Australian Patent (filed 22nd August 2008) Inventors: M.J. Walker, A. Henningham, J. Cole

Research Awards and Fellowships:
  • 1998: Alexander Von Humboldt fellowship
  • 2005-6: Fulbright Senior Scholar fellowship (UCSD and University of Tennessee)
  • 2009: University of Wollongong Vice Chancellor's senior researcher award
Selected Publications: