Staff profile - Melanie Thomson

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Dr Melanie Thomson

Position: Lecturer
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Health
Department: School of Medicine
Campus: Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus
Phone: +61 3 522 72722 +61 3 522 72722



Dr Mel Thomson completed her Honours degree in microbiology and immunology at the University of Melbourne (1998). She then immigrated to the UK where she worked on various projects as diverse as allergy and cancer before undertaking further studies. She completed a Masters of Research then a PhD in microbial genetic regulation in Neisseria species, both at University of York, UK.

After the award of her PhD in 2009, she became interested the host-pathogen interactions at the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, UK. Dr Thomson returned to Australia in 2011 to start her own research group at Deakin Medical School and the Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases.

A passionate science communicator, she has recently become a national ‘torch bearer’ for the concept of crowd funding academic research, which a track record of three successful ‘Pozible’ crowd funding campaigns, ‘Mighty Maggots’, ‘Hips 4 Hipsters’ and ‘No more Poo Taboo’. She is involved with advocacy as a steering committee member for Women in Science Australia.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of York (UK), 2009


Women in Science Australia

Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases

Professional activities

• Local Organising Committee ASM Melbourne 2014
• Membership of the Australian Society of Microbiology
•  Membership of the American Society of Microbiology
• Membership of the Microbiology Society, UK
• Women in Science Australia, steering committee.
• SAGE Pilot Committee for Deakin University

LinkedIn profile

Personal website


Teaching Interests

Medical Biotechnology

Infection and Immunity

Emerging Infectious Diseases and Their Control

Subjects and units currently teaching

HMM303 Emerging infectious diseases and their control

Knowledge areas

Crowdfunding Academic Research

Medical Microbiology

Conferences and seminars


ECCMID 2014, Barcelona, May 2014 ‘Starving the Superbug: Novel antimicrobial therapy to target selenium metabolism to treat C. difficile infection’ (poster)

4th Lorne Infection and Immunity Conference, Feb 2014 ‘Gastric Helicobacter infection causes extra gastric modulation of host iron metabolism genes independently of Cag PAI’ (poster)

BacPath 12, Queensland, Australia, Sept 2013 ‘Modelling host iron deficiency in a mouse model of gastric Helicobacter infection’ (Oral)
Free Radical and Metal Biology, QIMR, Brisbane, 2012 ‘Modelling host iron deficiency in a mouse model of Helicobacter infection’ (Oral)

The Society of General Microbiology (UK) Autumn meeting, Sept 2012 ‘Monitoring the Superbug: Investigating Clostridium difficile in the Barwon Health Region, Victoria, Australia’ (Poster)

The 9th International workshop on Pathogenesis and Host Response in Helicobacter
infections, July 2010, Helsingor, Denmark. ‘Modelling host iron deficiency in a murine model of Helicobacter infection’ (Oral)

CONTENT meeting, March 2010, Cascais, Portugal
‘Investigating the relationship between iron deficiency and Helicobacter pylori infection in animal
models’ (Oral)

Media appearances

Local and National Television, Radio, Newspapers

Related Links

Women In Science Australia Profile

Personal Science Communication Blog

Professional Twitter Account: @DrMel_T


Awards and prizes

Vice Chancellor's Award for Innovation Highly Commended (2015)

Faculty Of Health, Deakin University, Individual Innovation Award, for Crowd Funding (2014)

Faculty Of Health, Deakin University, Team Innovation Award for Honours Teaching (2012)

British Society of Gastroenterology: ‘Poster of Distinction’ award (2011)


Research projects

Novel antimicrobials to treat intestinal Clostridium difficle infections

Investigation the biofilm forming pathogens of Prosthetic Joint Infections

Investigating Mycobacterium ulcerans, using a 'One Health' approach

Host-Pathogen interactions between Helicobacter pylori and mammalian iron metabolism

Research interests

Host-Bacteria interactions

Gastrointestinal pathogens

Medical and Environmental Biofilms

Re purposing old drugs to be novel antimicrobial drugs

Research grants

• ‘No more Poo Taboo’ crowd funded project June 2015 $10,988
• ‘Hips 4 Hipsters’ crowd funded project June 2014 $12,413
• Deakin Internal Central Research Grants Scheme 2013: $10,218
• QPLCE Foundation grant – July 2013 - $3,000
• ‘Mighty Maggots’ crowd funded project – June 2013 - $9,970
• Geelong Community Foundation Award May 2013 - $34,000
• Deakin Internal Faculty Development research Grant (2011) $19,000

Research groups

Scientific Management Committee, Ceelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (GCEID)




1. Roder C, Athan E, Dimovski K, Easton M, Hogg G, Harris O, Alfredson D and Thomson MJ (2015) ‘Population-Based Study of Ribotypes and Toxin-b Production in Clinical Isolates of Clostridium difficile in Victoria, Australia’ EC Microbiology Perspectives, Volume 1 Issue 2

2. Roder C and Thomson MJ (2015) ‘Auranofin: Repurposing an Old Drug for a Golden New Age’ Drugs in R&D Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 13-2

3. Seter M, Thomson MJ, Chong A, Macfarlane DR & Forsyth M (2013) ‘Cetrimonium Nalidixate as a Multifunctional Inhibitor to Combat Biofilm Formation and Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion’ Aust. J. Chem. 2013, 66, 921–929 

4. Harris PR, Serrano CA, Villagran A, Walker MM, Thomson M, Duarte I, et al. (2012) ‘Helicobacter pylori-associated hypochlorhydria in children, and development of iron deficiency’. J Clin Pathol. Apr;66(4):343-7.

5. Thomson MJ, Pritchard DM, Boxall SA, Abuderman AA, Williams JM, et al. (2012) ‘Gastric Helicobacter infection induces iron deficiency in the INS-GAS mouse.’ PLoS One 7: e50194.

6. Edwards J, Quinn D, Rowbottom KA, Whittingham JL, Thomson MJ, et al. (2012) ‘Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae are differently adapted in the regulation of denitrification: single nucleotide polymorphisms that enable species-specific tuning of the aerobic-anaerobic switch.’ Biochem J 445: 69-79.

7. Seter M, Thomson MJ, Stoimenovski J, Macfarlane DR, Forsyth M (2012) ‘Dual active ionic liquids and organic salts for inhibition of microbially influenced corrosion.’ Chem Commun (Camb). 48, 5983-5985 

8. 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.

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

10. Heurlier K, Thomson MJ, Aziz N, Moir JW.(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

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

12. 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

13. Strid J, Thomson MJ, Hourihane J, Kimber I, Strobel S. (2004)
‘A novel model of sensitization and oral tolerance to peanut protein.’ Immunology 113, 293-303

14. Londrigan SL, Hewish MJ, Thomson MJ, Sanders GM, Mustafa H, Coulson BS.(2000) ‘Growth of rotaviruses in continuous human and monkey cell lines that vary in their expression of integrins.’ J Gen Virol 81, 2203-2213

Link to publications

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