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Personal profile


Dr Rachael Lappan is an ARC DECRA Fellow (2023 - 2025) and Group Leader in the Department of Microbiology in the Biomedicine Discovery Institute. Rachael has a background in microbiology and microbial ecology, and completed her PhD in 2019 at the University of Western Australia in Perth, where she led a study on the microbiome of ear infections in children.

Moving to Melbourne to begin a postdoc in Professor Chris Greening's lab, Rachael broadened her expertise across human and environmental microbiology using One Health approaches for disease surveillance. As a postdoc in the RISE Program, she led the development and use of a TaqMan Array Card approach for enteric pathogen detection in human, animal and environmental samples.

In the Greening Lab, she has built a profile of work focusing on microbial communities that use atmospheric trace gases as an energy source in a range of environments. In 2022, she received the Australian Society for Microbiology's Jim Pittard Early Career Award for her achievements in microbiology.

In 2023, Rachael received an ARC DECRA Fellowship (receiving the Australian Academy of Science's J G Russell Award for top-ranked DECRA applications) and was appointed a Group Leader in the Department of Microbiology to study microbial communities in the atmosphere itself. Her research program aims to determine the nature and activity of the atmospheric microbiome, how this ecosystem contributes to human and environmental health, and to explore its role in seeding new ecosystems in unique settings including meteorites and glacier forelands. She is currently an Associate Investigator in the ARC Special Research Initiative Securing Antarctica's Environmental Future. Rachael collaborates across health, biological and earth sciences and has extensive fieldwork, laboratory and bioinformatics experience.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Microbiology, Doctor of Philosophy, Using 'omics technologies to understand pathogenesis and seek alternative therapies for otitis media in children, University of Western Australia


Award Date: 8 May 2019

Microbiology, BSc (Hons), University of Western Australia


Award Date: 23 Mar 2015

Research area keywords

  • Microbiome
  • Metagenomics
  • Microbial ecology
  • Ecosystems
  • Aerobiology
  • Geobiology

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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