Professor Melissa Brown

Chair of the Institutional Biosafety Committee

College of Science and Engineering

place Biological Sciences (221)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia
Prof Brown completed her B.Sc. (Hons.) and her PhD. in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Adelaide University under the guidance of Prof Paul Manning and A/Prof Renato Morona. She undertook postdoctoral training with Prof Robert Hancock at the University of British Columbia in Canada for which she was awarded a Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. Prof Brown returned to Australia in 1993 to work with Prof Ronald Skurray at the University of Sydney. In 2007 she relocated her laboratory to Flinders University where she is currently Professor in Microbiology.
Qualifications
1992 - Ph.D. "Molecular characterisation of the rfb region of Vibrio cholerae O1 (Ogawa)" Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Adelaide
1984 - B.Sc. (Hons), "Molecular characterisation of the haemolysin determinant from V. cholerae" Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Adelaide
1983 - B.Sc., Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Adelaide
Honours, awards and grants

Fellow of the American Society of Microbiology (FAA)

Fellow of the Australian Society of Microbiology (FASM)

Bellberry Research Award 2009

Research expertise
Biochemistry and cell biology
Medical microbiology
Microbiology
Molecular biology
Research interests

The overall scientific goal of the research undertaken in Prof Brown's laboratory is to determine the complex mechanisms used by bacteria to evade strategies employed by the host for their elimination, including the use of antimicrobial agents. Drug-resistant microorganisms are a major worldwide health issue as a number of important human pathogens have now acquired mechanisms that make them largely resistant to all currently available treatment regimes. One of the most significant resistance mechanisms involves membrane-bound efflux pumps that actively transport toxic antimicrobial compounds from the bacterial cell before they reach their intracellular target. Although many export systems transport a single substrate, or a small group of structurally-related substrates, a number of multidrug resistance (MDR) export systems are involved in the efflux of a wide range of structurally-dissimilar antimicrobial compounds. These MDR pumps are widespread amongst pathogenic bacteria and fungi, parasitic protozoa, and human tumour cells. With her team she is investigating the molecular structures, mechanistic processes and molecular evolution of these efflux pumps. Together with international collaborators, they have provided insights into the controversy of how proteins bind multiple ligands.

Additionally, we have recently developed a range of molecular techniques and model systems to analyse how the bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii has developed into such a successful pathogen.

Teaching interests
Prof Brown's teaching interests centre on Microbiology and the application of current molecular techniques.
Topic coordinator
BIOL3782 Advanced Microbiology: Microbial Ecology and Infectious Disease
SERC2700 Research Project 1
BIOL3761 Foundations in Microbiology
Topic lecturer
SERC3700 Research Project 2
BIOL3761 Foundations in Microbiology
SERC1012 Introduction to Research
BIOL1112 Biology and Society
BIOL3782 Advanced Microbiology:Microbial Ecology and Infectious Disease
SERC2700 Research Project 1
BIOL2722 Disease and Immunology
Supervisory interests
Antimicrobials
Molecular biology
Higher degree by research supervision
Current
Principal supervisor: Acinetobacter baumannii pathogenesis (3), Bacterial multidrug resistance (2)
Associate supervisor: Effect of salinity on phytoplankton (1)
Publications