Trevor Lithgow


  • 19 Innovation walk, 76

    3800 Monash University


  • Room 252, 19 Innovation Walk, 76

    3800 Melbourne

1988 …2021

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Professor Trevor Lithgow graduated with a PhD in Biochemistry from La Trobe University in 1992. In 1993, he was awarded a Long-Term Fellowship from the Human Frontiers Science Program and moved to a postdoctoral position with Professor Gottfried (Jeff) Schatz at the University of Basel. In 1999, Lithgow was awarded the HFSP Tenth Anniversary Award that recognised the top ten Research Fellows in the first ten years of the Human Frontiers Science Program. A capstone to these discoveries came with recent work on the high-resolution structural analysis of the mitochondrial protein import “TOM” complex published in papers in Science, Molecular Cell and Nature.

Lithgow was awarded an ARC Federation Fellowship to build capacity for studying host–pathogen interactions at Monash University, starting in 2008. In 2014, he took up an ARC Laureate Fellowship to build capacity in nanoscale imaging approaches to investigate bacterial cell biology. This included developing applications of single particle cryoEM, neutron reflectrometry, atomic force microscopy and super-resolution imaging of bacterial cells. The fundamental discoveries from this work include how bacterial outer membranes are assembled and the intracellular complexity of the bacterial cytoplasm and periplasm. Lithgow also led the NHMRC Program in Cellular Microbiology that used the fundamental knowledge of bacterial cell biology to better understand mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the mechanics driving entry of bacteriophage into bacteria and the mechanisms by which phages control host cell biology. 

Professor Lithgow became a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2010. In 2017, The Royal Society of Victoria awarded Trevor the Medal for Excellence in Biological Sciences and he won the Lemberg Medal for outstanding contribution to Science from the Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2020.

Prof Lithgow established the new, inter-Faculty, Monash Centre to Impact AMR in 2020 as the founding Director. The Centre brings together engineers, social scientists and anthropologists, molecular and microbiologists, chemists, computational and evolutionary scientists, and clinicians, in order to find sustainable solutions to the growing and global problem of AMR.

Research interests

Uncovering clues to new disease control strategies Discoveries on ways to visualize the bacterial cell surface lays the foundation for helping scientists to develop new ways to fight disease. Nanoscale imaging technologies at Monash University mean that these machines can be seen in unprecedented detail, with this level of scrutiny highlighting their weak-points too, with new antimicrobial approaches now in the pipeline.

These same approaches to understanding bacterial cell biology are being applied to investigate the interaction of bacteriophages (phages) with bacterial cell surfaces. Phage therapies are on the horizon as a major means to treat AMR infections.

"All of this matters if we are to become creative enough to design new ways to prevent the increasing numbers of bacterial infections that are resistant to off-the-shelf antibiotics."



External positions

Director, Centre to Impact AMR

1 Jan 2020 → …

Research area keywords

  • antimicrobial resistance
  • bacterial evolution
  • membrane biochemistry
  • bacterial cell biology
  • protein transport


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