Personal profile


Professor Hartland obtained her B. Sc. (Hons) majoring in microbiology and biochemistry and her Ph.D in microbiology from the University of Melbourne. She has held a Royal Society/NHMRC Howard Florey Fellowship in the Department of Biochemistry, Imperial College London and Lecturer/Senior Lecturer positions at Monash University, Australia. She was an inaugural Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Melbourne and subsequently held the positions of Head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, Deputy Director of the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor Research Partnerships and External Relations at the University of Melbourne. She is currently the Director and CEO of Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne and Head of the Department of Molecular and Translational Science at Monash University. Professor Hartland has a long-standing research interest in the pathogenesis of infections caused by Gram-negative pathogens, with a focus on mechanisms of bacterial colonization and immune evasion.

Research interests

Translocated effectors of bacterial pathogens. The subversion of host cell processes by microbial pathogens is an intrinsic part of the host-pathogen interaction. Many bacterial pathogens have the ability to transport virulence proteins, termed effector proteins, into host cells via specialized protein secretion systems. We work on a range of effectors from pathogenic E. coli, Shigella and Salmonella that interfere with host innate immune signaling pathways and block inflammation and cell death. The aim of this work is to investigate the manipulation of host cell signaling by effector protein families to understand their influence on host cell function, inflammatory signaling and the innate immune response. 

Intracellular bacterial pathogens and cell intrinsic immunity. Many bacterial pathogens have acquired the capacity to replicate inside human cells by avoiding cell intrinsic innate immune pathways.Pathogens such as Legionella and Burkholderia are environmental organisms that cause the life threatening opportunistic infections known as Legionnaire’s Disease and melioidosis respectively. A feature of both pathogens is the capacity of the bacteria to replicate within human cells through effector-mediated manipulation of host cell biology. Our goal is to identify and characterize effectors that interact with cell intrinsic innate immune pathways. Ultimately this will allow us to understand the molecular mechanisms by which intracellular bacteria cause disease.

Immune responses in Legionnaire’s disease. Infection with Legionella elicits a strong inflammatory response in the lung. This initial inflammation is important for subsequent recruitment and activation of immune responses necessary to control and clear the infection. We have discovered that certain subsets of monocyte derived cells play a role in limiting bacterial replication in the lung. The aim of this work is to understand the mechanisms by which these contribute to resistance to infection with Legionella and other bacterial pathogens. This work will not only contribute to our understanding of the pathogenesis of Legionnaire’s disease but will also provide novel information on the functions of inflammatory cells in the lung.

Supervision interests

Professor Hartland is an accomplished research supervisor and mentor and has supervised 13 PhD students to completion as primary supervisor. Three of her former students, have won NHMRC Early Career Fellowships and one former student is the recent recipient of an ARC Future Fellowship. Under Professor Hartland’s supervision, former PhD student Dr Pearson was awarded the 2014 University of Melbourne Chancellor's Prize for Excellence in a PhD Thesis and the 2014 Deans Award for Excellence in a PhD Thesis. Dr Pearson also won the 2014 Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research.

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Projects 2000 2020

Research Output 2000 2017

Bacterial pathogenesis: Legionella phosphoinositide tailoring

Hartland, E. L. 22 Feb 2017 In : Nature Microbiology. 2, 3, 17013

Research output: Other - peer-reviewComment / Debate

Distinct roles of the antiapoptotic effectors NleB and NleF from enteropathogenic Escherichia coli

Pollock, G. L., Oates, C. V. L., Giogha, C., Lung, T. W. F., Ong, S. Y., Pearson, J. S. & Hartland, E. L. 1 Apr 2017 In : Infection and Immunity. 85, 4, e01071-16

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

EspL is a bacterial cysteine protease effector that cleaves RHIM proteins to block necroptosis and inflammation

Pearson, J. S. , Giogha, C. , Mühlen, S. , Nachbur, U. , Pham, C. L. L. , Zhang, Y. , Hildebrand, J. M. , Oates, C. V. , Lung, T. W. F. , Ingle, D. J. , Dagley, L. F. , Bankovacki, A. , Petrie, E. J. , Schroeder, G. N. , Crepin, V. F. , Frankel, G. , Masters, S. L. , Vince, J. , Murphy, J. M. , Sunde, M. & 3 others Webb, A. I., Silke, J. & Hartland, E. L. 13 Jan 2017 In : Nature Microbiology. 2, 16258

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

The regulation of acute immune responses to the bacterial lung pathogen Legionella pneumophila

Brown, A. S., Yang, C., Hartland, E. L. & van Driel, I. R. 1 Apr 2017 In : Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 101, 4, p. 875-886 12 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewReview Article

The role of mass spectrometry analysis in bacterial effector characterization

Scott, N. E. & Hartland, E. L. 15 Aug 2017 In : Biochemical Journal. 474, 16, p. 2779-2784 6 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewReview Article