Melanie Thomson

Full Name: Dr Melanie Thomson
Position Title: Lecturer
Telephone: +61 3 522 72722
Campus: Geelong at Waurn Ponds
melanie thomson


Gastrointestinal microbial pathogenesis

Research overview

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional disorder globally. There is increasing evidence from clinical and population studies for a role of H. pylori infection in the aetiology of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia. However, suitable animal models of gastric Helicobacter infection are needed to investigate the molecular basis of causal links to iron deficiency in the host. Ongoing projects involve the use of the C56BL/6 mouse model of H. felis and H. pylori infection as well as the development of a novel infection model in zebrafish to study the molecular pathways of host iron metabolism in greater depth.
Dr Thomson also has an interest in studying the bacterial pathogens associated with other acute and chronic gastrointestinal diseases. In collaboration with Associate Professor Eugene Athan (Barwon Health, Geelong), she has planned a preliminary study to monitor the toxin gene diversity and anti-microbial resistance in the Clostridium difficile pathogen present in hospitalised patients from the Barwon Region in Victoria.

Helicobacter felis


Legend: Heliobacter felis colonisation of murine gastric glandular region at 8 weeks post-inoculation
(red boxes). Paraffin-embedded section, Geimsa's stain.

Scale bar = 0.02mm






  1. Development of a novel zebrafish model to investigate the extra gastric effects of Helicobacter infection
  2. Any old iron? Novel host iron sources utilised by human pathogen Helicobacter pylori
  3. Monitoring the Superbug: Investigations of toxic gene diversity and anti-microbial resistance in Clostridium difficile

Now recruiting Honours and PhD students, please email expressions of interest to:


Dr Thomson completed her undergraduate degree in 1998 in microbiology and immunology at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She then immigrated to the UK where she worked on various projects as diverse as peanut allergy and bladder cancer before undertaking further studies. She completed her Masters of Research in functional genomics in 2004 before reading for a PhD in microbial genetic regulation in Neisseria species, both at the University of York, UK. After the award of her PhD in 2009, Dr Thomson became interested in the extra-gastric consequences of the host-pathogen interactions between gastric Helicobacter species and their human host. Working as a post Doctoral fellow in the laboratories of Professor Jean Crabtree in Leeds, UK, as part of the international CONTENT consortium (Supported by an EU framework 6 grant) enabled her to develop this interest using rodent models. Parallel studies in cohorts of affected children were modelled in mice and gerbils to look specifically for the molecular pathways of host iron metabolism modulated by gastric Helicobacter infections. Having returned to Australia in May 2011, she plans to continue this molecular work in parallel to studies of this healthcare burden in indigenous Australians.


Dr Melanie Thomson's Publications

  1. Edwards J, Cole LJ, Green JB, Thomson MJ, Wood AJ, Whittingham JL, Moir JW.(2010) ‘Binding to DNA protects Neisseria meningitidis fumarate and nitrate reductase regulator (FNR) from oxygen.’ J Biol Chem 285, 1105-1112. Impact factor 5.9

  2. Thomson MJ, Stevanin TM, and Moir JWB (2008)‘Measuring nitric oxide metabolism in the pathogen Neisseria meningitidis’ Methods Enzymol 437, 539-560. Impact factor: 2.3

  3. Heurlier K, Thomson MJ, Aziz N, Moir JWB.(2008) ‘The nitric oxide (NO)-sensing repressor NsrR of Neisseria meningitidis has a compact regulon of genes involved in NO synthesis and detoxification’. J Bacteriol 190, 2488-249. Impact factor: 3.7

  4. Rock JD*, Thomson MJ*, Read RC, Moir JWB. (2007) (*equal 1st Author) ‘Regulation of denitrification genes in Neisseria meningitidis by nitric oxide and the repressor NsrR.’ J Bacteriol 189, 1138-1144. Impact factor: 3.7

  5. Georgopoulos NT, Steele LP, Thomson MJ, Selby PJ, Southgate J, Trejdosiewicz LK. (2006) ‘A novel mechanism of CD40-induced apoptosis of carcinoma cells involving TRAF3 and JNK/AP-1 activation.’ Cell Death Differ 13, 1789-1801. Impact factor: 7.6




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