Chief Investigators

Professor Tania Sorrell

Professor Tania Sorrell, AM is Director of the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity (MBI) and Chair of the NHMRC’s Research Translation Faculty Steering Group on New and Emerging Health Threats. She is an internationally renowned infectious diseases physician and medical mycologist whose research focuses on invasive fungal infections. She has a long-standing interest in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, especially in immunocompromised individuals. As a leading international researcher on Cryptococcus, she has made major contributions toward understanding the mechanisms by which these fungi cause invasive infections. Professor Sorrell’s research on virulence determinants in C. neoformans aims to develop new fungal diagnostic tests and new treatments. Her work has resulted in the development of clinically-useful rapid diagnostic tests (e.g. for brain infections). Professor Sorrell’s leadership was instrumental in establishing the MBI, a multi-faculty, multidisciplinary institute devoted to reducing the risks from and global impact of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, especially in the Asia-Pacific Region. She has successfully created multidisciplinary research networks including medical and veterinary sciences, biological sciences, and humanities and social sciences, in an effort to improve capacity in Australia and abroad, in diagnostics, surveillance, infection control and infectious disease prevention. She leads the MBI’s functioning as an expert resource in infectious diseases and biosecurity for government and professional bodies. Professor Sorrell is a regular expert contributor to international policy-forming bodies including the WHO and is a Senior Adviser at GAFFI (Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections). In 2014, she was awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM), for significant service to medicine and the community as an infectious diseases researcher and adviser. More information about Professor Sorrell

Associate Professor Vitali Sintchenko

Associate Professor Vitali Sintchenko is Director of the Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology (CIDM)-Public Health, a translational research hub funded by the NSW Ministry of Health. He leads the recently launched NSW Health Public Health Pathogen Genomics Initiative.  He practices as a clinical microbiologist at NSW Health Pathology and supervises the NSW Mycobacterium and Enteric Reference Laboratories at the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Microbiological Research (ICPMR), Westmead Hospital. He is the current Chair of the Commonwealth Public Health Laboratory Network (PHLN). More information about Professor Sintchenko

Professor Allen Cheng

Professor Allen Cheng is an infectious diseases physician and Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology Unit at Alfred Health, and is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. He has completed a PhD (Flinders University), a Master of Public Health (Monash University), and a Master of Biostatistics (University of Queensland). His research covers a diverse area within infectious diseases, including sepsis and severe melioidosis, tropical medicine, influenza and vaccine effectiveness, hospital infection prevention and control, antibiotic pharmacokinetics, antimicrobial drug policy and clinical infectious diseases. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He is a current member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, the Advisory Committee on Prescription Medicines and the National Influenza Surveillance Committee. More information about Professor Cheng

Professor Gwendolyn Gilbert

Clinical Professor Lyn Gilbert is Director, Infection Prevention & Control, Western Sydney Local Health District; senior researcher, Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases & Biosecurity & Centre for Values, Ethics & the Law In Medicine, University of Sydney. Until 2010, she was Director of the Centre for Infectious Diseases & Microbiology (CIDM) Laboratory Services, Westmead Hospital and, until 2013, Director of CIDM-Public Health. More information about Professor Gilbert

Professor Edward Holmes

Professor Edward C. Holmes is an NHMRC Australia Fellow (2012-2017) in the School of Biological Sciences and Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney, studying the evolution and emergence of infectious diseases, particularly the mechanisms by which pathogens jump species boundaries to emerge in humans. His work has provided key insights into the emergence of novel infections. Professor Holmes has studied the emergence and spread of avian influenza (bird flu) virus, dengue virus, HIV, hepatitis C virus, myxoma virus, RHDV (rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus) and Yersinia pestis (the plague bacterium). Of note are his major contributions to understanding the evolutionary and epidemiological dynamics of influenza, which have assisted in influenza virus strain prediction and vaccine deployment. His previous appointments include Verne M. Willaman Chair in the Life Sciences and Eberly College of Science Distinguished Senior Scholar (2007-2012) at Pennsylvania State University, USA, and Affiliate Member of the Fogarty International Centre (2005-2012), National Institutes of Health, USA. From 1999-2004 he was Fellow of New College, Oxford. Currently he is Member of The Center for Infection and Immunity, Columbia University, USA, and Guest Professor at the Chinese CDC, Beijing.  More information about Professor Holmes

Professor Benjamin Howden

Professor Benjamin Howden is an NHMRC Career Development Fellow and Director of the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory (MDU PHL) in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. He is also a practicing infectious diseases physician at Austin Hospital in Melbourne. He became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 2002 (FRACP, Infectious Diseases) and a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia in 2004 (FRCPA, Microbiology). During his doctoral studies at Monash University (2004-2008, PhD awarded 2009), Prof Howden acquired a detailed understanding of comparative and functional genomics of human bacterial pathogens, with a focus on the major human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Since completing his PhD he has also been Head of Microbiology and an Infectious Diseases Physician at Austin Hospital. He manages a research team within the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne, spanning basic molecular biology, and translational and clinical studies. More information about Professor Howden

Professor David Smith

Clinical Professor David Smith is Director of the QEII Medical Centre Network of PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA, which includes statewide diagnostic and reference laboratory services. It incorporates the WA high containment PC3 laboratory, and the PathWest National Influenza Centre. He is also an adjunct Clinical Professor in the School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Western Australia and is co-director of the Arbovirus Surveillance and Research Laboratory. He has been part of many studies related to the impact of influenza and other respiratory viruses and provides both formal and ad hoc advice to the State and Commonwealth governments on these matters, including his membership of the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee, and the recent Australian Pandemic Influenza Advisory Committee. He is also a Director of the Asia-Pacific Alliance for the Control of Influenza, which advocates for influenza vaccination and antiviral use to reduce the impact of influenza in the region.  In addition he is one of Australia’s leading experts on arbovirus infections and has co-authored a number of papers that impact on practice, such as decisions about the use of Japanese encephalitis vaccine in Australia, dengue risks to Australia, Murray Valley encephalitis virus monitoring, impact, management, and diagnostic testing. More information about Professor Smith​

Professor Enrico Coiera

Professor Enrico Coiera is Director of the Centre for Health Informatics (CHI) at Macquarie University. He also leads the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in E-Health (2012-16). Until 2014 he was the Foundation Professor in Medical Informatics at UNSW and Director of the Centre for Health Informatics, which he co-founded. Professor Coiera has a broad range of interests in the application of information and communication technologies (e-Health) to solving health service delivery problems, with an emphasis on the importance of developing robust theoretical work to support the applied nature of this discipline. Professor Coiera is currently exploring topics in patient safety informatics, consumer e-health, translational bioinformatics, evidence-based decision support, text summarisation methods to support scientific discovery and has a long standing interest in clinical communication. He has a strong interest in understanding the systemic nature of the problems faced in healthcare, and their formal analysis. More information about Professor Coiera twitter - @enricocoiera  blog -

Professor Jonathan Iredell

Professor Jon Iredell is Director of Infectious Diseases at Westmead Hospital and Deputy Director of the Centre for Infectious Diseases & Microbiology (CIDM) Laboratory Services, Westmead Hospital. He is Director (CIA) of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Critical Infection at the Westmead Millennium Institute/ University of Sydney and is one of the few Infectious Diseases physicians and the only formally qualified clinical Microbiologist with full professional membership of the ANZ Intensive Care Society.  Professor Iredell conducts basic and clinical research, combining his clinical expertise in critical care and long-standing research in molecular genetics. He develops and coordinates nationwide clinical trials related to life-threatening infections. His research covers critical infections and microbial ecology, especially in relation to transmissible antimicrobial resistance in bacteria. More information about Professor Iredell

Professor Cheryl Jones

Cheryl Jones is the Stevenson Chair of Paediatrics and Department Head at the University of Melbourne, an infectious diseases physician at Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, and an internationally recognised research leader in childhood infectious diseases. She co-leads the Clinical Infectious Diseases group at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, is the co-lead of the CNSI3 (central nervous system infection, immunity and inflammation) node at the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity (Sydney) as well as the Australian Childhood Encephalitis (ACE) study. She has earned >$25 million in funding and has over 200 publications. She is President of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) and holds key executive roles on statutory committees and boards. She has led ASID's advocacy for action against antimicrobial resistance, and sits on the technical advisory group for this purpose (ASTAG). She chaired NHMRC GRP panel 2013-2016 and was a member of the ARC ERA medical evaluation committee 2012 and 2015. More information about Professor Jones