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Uncovering clues to new disease control strategies Discoveries on ways to visualize the molecular machines that bacteria use to build their surface structure lays the foundation for helping scientists to develop new ways to fight disease.

New 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.

Having defined the general principles of how the bacterial surface structures tease and then invade human cells, the Lithgow lab is now working towards an understanding of the weaknesses in this process.

"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."


  • bacteria
  • bacterial evolution
  • membrane biochemistry
  • mitochondrial biology
  • protein transport

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Projects 2009 2020

Research Output 2000 2018

Bastion6: A bioinformatics approach for accurate prediction of type VI secreted effectors

Wang, J., Yang, B., Leier, A., Marquez-Lago, T., Hayashida, M., Rocker, A., Zhang, Y., Akutsu, T., Chou, K-C., Strugnell, R. A., Song, J. & Lithgow, T. 2018 (Accepted/In press) In : Bioinformatics. 8 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Comprehensive assessment and performance improvement of effector protein predictors for bacterial secretion systems III, IV and VI

An, Y., Wang, J., Li, C., Leier, A., Marquez-Lago, T., Wilksch, J., Zhang, Y., Webb, G. I., Song, J. & Lithgow, T. 1 Jan 2018 In : Briefings in Bioinformatics. 19, 1, p. 148-161 14 p., bbw100

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Bacteriophage transcytosis provides a mechanism to cross epithelial cell layers

Nguyen, S., Baker, K., Padman, B. S., Patwa, R., Dunstan, R. A., Weston, T. A., Schlosser, K., Bailey, B., Lithgow, T., Lazarou, M., Luque, A., Rohwer, F., Blumberg, R. S. & Barr, J. J. 1 Nov 2017 In : mBio. 8, 6, e01874-17

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Constraints on lateral gene transfer in promoting fimbrial usher protein diversity and function

Stubenrauch, C. J., Dougan, G., Lithgow, T. & Heinz, E. 15 Nov 2017 In : Open Biology. 7, 11, 10 p., 170144

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Open Access

Defining membrane protein localization by isopycnic density gradients

Dunstan, R. A., Hay, I. D. & Lithgow, T. 2017 Bacterial Protein Secretion Systems: Methods and Protocols. Journet, L. & Cascales, E. (eds.). Humana Press, Vol. 1615, p. 81-86 6 p. (Methods in Molecular Biology; vol. 1615)

Research output: Other - peer-reviewChapter (Book)


Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences

Trevor James Lithgow (Recipient), 2010

Prize: Election to learned society

Fellow of the Australian Society of Microbiology

Trevor James Lithgow (Recipient), 2017

Prize: National/international honour

Press / Media

The Bacteria Inside Us: Compadres, Passengers and Pests

Trevor James Lithgow


1 item of media coverage

Press / Media: Public Engagement Activities