Personal profile

Biography

Simone is an NHMRC Australia CJ Martin Early Career Research Fellow and heads the Microbiome Systems research group at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. She is also a Research Leader at the Centre to Impact Antimicrobial Resistance.
 
A computational biologist by training, her research journey began in her hometown of Sydney, with a Bachelor of Engineering (Bioinformatics, first-class honours) from the University of New South Wales, Australia.
Intellectually curious by nature, Simone also has a Bachelor of Arts (Japanese Studies) and Diploma in Innovation Management - and quite a bit of student debt.
 
As a founding member of the NSW Systems Biology Initiative led by Prof Marc Wilkins, she collaborated with researchers around Australia and specialised in biological data integration, genome-scale '-omics technologies and the application of network theory to solve biological questions.
 
In 2012, Simone was awarded a prestigious scholarship by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and EMBL Australia, and relocated to the picturesque town of Heidelberg in Germany to do her PhD under the tutelage of Prof Peer Bork. Here, she transitioned into metagenomics and the emerging field of microbiome science, focusing on building an wholistic understanding of how faecal microbiota transplantation changes the gut microbiome and if this could be linked to patient recovery. This was continued by a biotechnology-driven postdoc with Prof Morten Sommer at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (Copenhagen, Denmark) and University of Queensland (Australia) that was supported by competitive EMBO and NHMRC Fellowships.
 
Simone has led impactful, multi-national research collaborations that uniquely combined the expertise of clinicians, microbiologists and bioinformaticians, and culminated in first-authorships in highly-cited publications in Science (2016) and Nature Medicine (2022).
 
In 2023, she returned to Australia to lead an independent research group in the Department of Microbiology at Monash University. Simone and her team study microbial communities in their native ecosystems and develop data-oriented approaches to analyse and uncover the biological complexity contained within them.
 

Research interests

We look at how microbes collectively respond to human-mediated interventions, such as antimicrobial use, and identify ways to design new sustainable microbiome-based therapeutic and remediation strategies. Our work has been supported by the European Molecular Biology Organisation and Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.
 
Members of our team work at the intersection of discovery, clinical and translational sciences alongside other experts in computational biology, antimicrobial resistance, microbial systems biology and bioinformatics in a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary research environment.
 
We also promote open science, equity in research culture and effective science communication.
 
If this sounds interesting, you are welcome to get in touch with Simone to find out more!

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 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Biotechnology, PhD, Metagenomics profiling of the human gut microbiome in the context of faecal microbiota transplantation, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) (Germany)

Bioinformatics (Hons I), B.Engineering, Visualisation of the yeast complexome, University of New South Wales (UNSW)

External positions

Community Ambassador, eLife Sciences

2021 → …

Research area keywords

  • microbiome
  • bioinformatics
  • computational biology
  • microbial ecology
  • data science
  • microbial genomics
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • systems biology