Bacterial pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance

The focus of the Schembri group is the study of uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC), the major cause of urinary tract infection and a leading cause of sepsis.

Our expertise on UPEC disease pathogenesis and our innovative analysis of biofilm formation aims to improve outcomes of the >175M+ individuals who suffer from urinary tract infections each year across the globe.

We examine the genetics, genomics and virulence of antibiotic-resistant UPEC, and the role of cell-surface factors in UPEC adhesion, aggregation, biofilm formation and infection of the urinary tract. We employ high-throughput genetic screens based on saturated transposon mutagenesis and deep sequencing to understand complex UPEC phenotypes as well as molecular mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance. We employ advanced systems in combination with microscopy to study biofilms, and use animal infection models to study urinary tract infection, bloodstream infection and neonatal meningitis. We also develop vaccines to prevent UPEC infection.

Professor Mark Schembri has published >230 papers, including seminal research discoveries on the role of UPEC adhesins in disease, the evolution and pathogenesis of antibiotic-resistant UPEC, and UPEC biofilm and resistance dynamics. 

Group leader

Professor Mark Schembri

Professor Mark Schembri

Group Leader, Bacterial pathogensis and antibiotic resistance

Institute for Molecular Bioscience

  +61 7 334 62112
  UQ Researcher Profile

Our Approach

We apply genetic, genomic and functional studies on uropathogenic E. coli to identify targets to reduce the virulence of this pathogen, and are pursuing the development of life-saving therapeutic and preventative advances. 

Research areas

  • Microbiology 
  • Molecular Biology 
  • Infection 
  • Immunity

Our Team

Group Leader