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Current lab members

LAB HEAD:  Dee Carter


Dee did a BSc (Hons) in microbiology and biochemistry at Otago University, New Zealand and a PhD in fungal biology at Imperial College, London. She did a 2 year postdoctoral fellowship in Montpellier, France studying Alzheimer's disease, and another 2 years at UC Berkeley where she started working on fungal pathogens.  She began her own lab at Sydney University in 1995. Dee's work has been supported by grants from the Australian Research Council, the National Health & Medical Research Council, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, among others. She is webmaster and former president of the Australasian Mycological Society and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. In addition to research she teaches undergraduate microbiology and mycology at the University of Sydney.
POSTDOC: Kenya Fernandes
Kenya was a PhD student in the Carter Lab and is now employed as a postdoctoral fellow researching the antimicrobial potential of honey from New South Wales.

In her PhD, Kenya  set out to investigate the biology of Cryptococcus and to explore new avenues of treatment for this and other fungal pathogens. Looking at the capacity of Cryptococcus to produce diverse cell types during infection, Kenya found correlations between phenotypic variation and virulence with potential significance to the ability of the organism to cause disease, sustain infection, and resist treatment. Next evaluating the antimicrobial milk protein lactoferrin as an antifungal synergent, Kenya found that its activity was likely related to the presence of smaller peptides formed through natural hydrolysis. A novel peptide, dubbed lactofungin, was identified with the potential to be developed for future antifungal therapies.
Aidan is a senior PhD student researching the use of bisphosphonates as antifungal agents. Aidan’s research has shown that various types of market bisphosphonates are active against a broad range of serious fungal pathogens, and can co-operate with azole-based drugs to produce antifungal synergy, a finding that has resulted in a provisional patent.  It is our hope that expanding and improving the antifungal toolbox will help us meet an increasing need for effective antifungal treatment strategies. Peripheral projects include investigating mechanisms of fluconazole resistance, and working with collaborators in the School of Chemistry. Aidan holds a B. Med Sci (HI), and has recently been on the organising committee for a national conference, winner of the Faculty of Science 3-Minute Thesis heats and finalist in the Amplify Ignite young investigators competition. Aidan is also passionate about education in microbiology and molecular biology, with teaching leadership roles in first year biology and senior microbiology. Ask him for his dearly-held opinions on theatre, craft breweries, and picking up heavy things.
PHD STUDENT: Joanna Rothwell
Joanna is a 3rd year PhD candidate in the ARC Training Centre For Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry. Her current project involves investigating the efficacy of current and novel post-harvest chemical treatments used in fresh produce processing. This is being done in order to find ways to help reduce food waste and increase the safety of fresh produce. Joanna is currently optimising plasma activated water systems for potential use in fresh produce industries.  Prior to this, Joanna completed her Bachelor of Science with an honours project testing a novel antifungal drug against invasive mould species with Dee. Joanna is involved in the Joint Academic Microbiology Seminars committee and is also the President of the SOLES Post Graduate Society at USYD . When not in the lab, Joanna likes to bush walk, garden and drink Newtowners.
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Past lab members - PhD students

Megan Truong  

PhD 2019 (UTS)

Repurposing drugs for use as antifungal agents

Yu-Wen Lai 

PhD 2017 (USYD)

A systems biology approach to understand the mechanistic basis of synergy between iron chelators and antifungal agents

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Michael Sivell

PhD 2014 (USYD)

Use of proteome analysis to understand the fungal infection process

Katherine Low

PhD 2010 (USYD)

Morphological and molecular insights into the taxonomy and phylogeny of symbiotic dinoflagellates from the Great Barrier Reef

Nathan Saul

PhD 2009 (Vet Science, USYD)

The interface of ecology and infection in Cryptococcus gattii

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Leona Campbell

PhD 2006 (USYD)

Mating, recombination and cryptic speciation in Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii from Australia

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Michael Stat

PhD 2006 (USYD)

The evolutionary history of coral-Symbiodinium assemblages: Diversity and temporal stability 

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Shona Blair

PhD 2003 (USYD)

The therapeutic potential of honey

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Shirlene Lim

PhD 2002 (USYD)

An analysis of microevolution in Cryptococcus neoformans

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Elizabeth Pope

PhD 2001 (USYD)

A hierarchical analysis of functional and genetic diversity within the Rhizoctonia solani species complex

Catriona Halliday

PhD 2000 (USYD)

A molecular study of mating type and recombination in Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii

Hellem Carniero

PhD 2019 (Brazil)

Induction of benomyl resistance in Cryptococcus gattii

Kate Weatherby

PhD 2016 (USYD)

The lifecycle of Chromera velia

Hin Siong Chong

PhD 2012 (USYD)

Proteome analysis of anti-fungal drug resistance in Cryptococcus gattii

Julie Irish

PhD 2009 (USYD)

Investigating the antibacterial and wound healing properties of honey

Anne-Laure Markovina

PhD 2006 (USYD)

The biodiversity and ecology of Aspergillus and Penicillium species from the Sydney basin

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Robert Moore

PhD 2006 (USYD)

Phylogenetics and morphology of symbiotic protists from Great Barrier Reef corals

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Zoran Ilic

PhD 2004 (USYD)

Genetic analysis of ochratoxin production by the black Aspergilli

Nai Tran-Dinh

PhD 2002 (USYD)

Population genetics of the aflatoxigenic species Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus

Julie Burrows

PhD 2002 (USYD)

Molecular detection, profiling and phylogenetic analysis of thermophilic spore-forming Bacilli from milk production environments

Giles Gaskell

PhD 2001 (USYD)

Molecular quantification of allergenic fungi

Misaki Takabayashi

PhD 2000 (UQ)

Intraspecific genetic variability in scleractinain corals

Lab associates & co-supervised projects


           Dr Aviva Levina            

Aviva is a Senior Research Associate with Prof. Peter Lay in the School of Chemistry, University of Sydney. She was trained as an analytical chemist in her home country, Latvia, then in France (University of Reims). Aviva has worked in USyd since 1995, and has co-authored close to a hundred articles and book chapters (see for details). Her main research interest is the interactions of metal complexes with biological systems. Aviva’s current project in the Carter group studies the accumulation of toxic metals by the pathogenic yeast, Cryptococcus neoformans, and its potential role in the host-pathogen interactions. In the future, she hopes to expand her work to the anti-fungal properties of metal complexes, particularly their possible synergy with established anti-fungal drugs


        Steven Hainsworth        

Steven is undertaking his PhD at RMIT in Melbourne, where he is looking at the taxonomy and diversity of fungi that cause skin and nail infections. He has published two papers on his work to date:

Isolation of Dermatophytes (and Other Fungi) from Human Nail and Skin Dust Produced by Podiatric Medical Treatments in Australia

Hainsworth, Steven; Hamblin, John F.; Vanniasinkam, Thiru.  2015.  Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association

DOI: 10.7547/0003-0538-105.2.111

Predominance of Trichophyton interdigitale Revealed in Podiatric Nail Dust Collections in Eastern Australia

Hainsworth, Steven; Hubka, Vit; Lawrie, Ann C.; ...  Grando, Danilla. 2020 Mycopathologia

DOI: 10.1007/S11046-019-00363-6


       Amira Farzana Samat     

Amira is a PhD candidate at School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The University of Sydney. Her research project is under Assoc. Prof. Ali Abbas, with Prof. Dee Carter and Dr. Alejandro Montoya as supervisory team members. Amira was a lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Perlis, Malaysia, before pursuing her PhD in Sydney. Her academic background was biotechnology, majoring in environmental biotechnology.  Her current research interest is the utilisation of microorganisms for the biodegradation of polymers. She will use Aspergillus terreus and Engyodontium album and will examine their ability to produce enzymes or metabolites capable of degrading polymers. The ability to correlate the chemistry of polymer properties and the microorganism’s biological mechanisms is the ultimate aim of her project.  She hopes that her work will help  mitigate plastic waste problems by introducing a more environmentally sustainable approach.

Past lab members - staff

Leona Campbell


Postdoctoral fellow 2009-2014

Leona worked on the proteomic and transcriptomic analysis of Cryptococcus, bringing in a wealth of expertise that she had learnt in the lab of Jenny Lodge in Washington State University, USA. Leona is now a teaching-focused academic at Sydney University, specialising in second and third year medical microbiology.

Tien Bui

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Research assistant 1995-2015

Tien began in the Carter lab shortly after it started in 1995, and stayed with us until 2015, when she took up a permanent position on the Sydney University Microbiology teaching support team preparing materials for lab classes. During her time in the lab, Tien supported projects ranging from corals to Cryptococcus and published many papers on her work.

Anna Simonin

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Postdoctoral fellow 2012-2013

Anna came from UC Berkeley and was with the lab from 2011-2012.  Anna worked on Chromera velia and also helped us to set up new teaching in Cryptococcus genetics. She is now a Senior Science Writer at DermBiont, Inc. in the San Francisco Bay Area

Shona Blair

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Postdoctoral fellow 2002-2006

Shona began as a PhD student in 1996 and stayed on as a postdoc from 2002-2006. Shona brought honey research to our laboratory and managed 2 grants and a number of PhD and honours students in this area. Shona left research to work in University administration, with positions at UNSW and the UTS. She is now at Imperial College, London, working as Head of Research Strategy in the Faculty of Medicine. She remains well connected to the Australian apiary industry and we still chat regularly about all things honey.

Jocelyn D'Souza


Postdoctoral fellow 2009-2014

Joss joined the lab in 2008 and was instrumental in helping us set up proteomic analysis of Cryptococcus.  She then worked for 8 years as Managing Editor for the Australasian Journal of Ultrasound, and she is now a Consultant with the Health Emergencies Program for WHO, based in Sydney.

William Loh


Postdoctoral fellow 1998-2000

William brought coral biology to the lab in 1998, when our colleague Ove Hoegh-Guldberg was looking for someone with molecular expertise to assist with a study of Symbiodinium.  WIlliam left with Ove when he moved his lab to the University of Queensland. He is now a free-lance educator, marine & molecular biologist, naturalist and study-abroad programs manager, and is based in Brisbane, Australia.

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