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Barwon Health / Research

(03) 4215 0000

Infectious Diseases

The Department of Infectious Diseases Research Team, in partnership with the GCEID, is a multidisciplinary group that tackles the transmission, treatment and prevention of some of the public’s most pressing health challenges, including:

  • COVID-19
  • Healthcare-associated infections
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Mycobacteria ulcerans (Buruli Ulcer)
  • Infections of medical devices
  • C. difficile infection
  • Hepatitis C
  • Infective endocarditis (infection of the heart)
  • Antimicrobial resistance

In addition, we are leaders in development of strategies and safeguards in the areas of refugee health and antimicrobial stewardship (responsible use of antibiotics).

Our Department is also a significant and active member of the Barwon Health Clinical Trials Unit (CTU), which, over 25 years and with the contribution of thousands of volunteers, is regarded as one of the leading hubs for clinical trials in the development of new treatments and technologies. The CTU is renowned for its start-up timelines and is national lead on the majority of its global commercially sponsored clinical trials.

Research Areas

Collaborating Organisations

Deakin University 

University of Melbourne  GCEID  CSIRO 

Kirby Institute

WEHI Burnet Institute   


Research Team

Research Staff

  • Professor Eugene Athan, Director
  • A/Professor Daniel O’Brien, Deputy Director
  • A/Professor Deb Friedman, Infectious Diseases Physician
  • Dr Andrew Hughes, Infectious Diseases Physician
  • Dr Amanda Wade, Infectious Diseases Physician
  • Dr Sarah Huffam, Infectious Diseases Physician
  • Dr Aaron Walton, Infectious Diseases Physician
  • Dr Cameron Jeremiah, Infectious Diseases Physician
  • Dr Raquel Cowan, Infectious Diseases Physician
  • Ms Maricar Mesoga, Administrative support
  • Dr Nilakshi Waidyatillake, Epidemiologist
  • Dr Christine Roder, Research Assistant
  • Alana Sarah, CTU Manager
  • Bree Sarah, CTU Manager
  • Jo Chambers, Clinical Trial Coordinator
  • Fahriya Zandari, Clinical Trial Coordinator
  • Kate Ellis, Clinical Trial Coordinator

Research Students

  • Christine Roder PhD
  • Darcie Cooper PhD candidate
  • Selorm Avemegah PhD
  • Carly Botheras PhD candidate
  • Rochelle Hamilton PhD candidate
  • Mitchell Clements Honours
  • Brodie Tweeddale Honours

Research News

Research Grants

  • DoH - The long-term physical and psychological consequences of COVID-19 infection: a comparative observational study in Regional Victoria: 2020-2021

Featured Publications

Risk factors associated with antibiotic treatment failure of Buruli ulcer. [NOTE – Abstract only; Barwon Health staff can request full text from Library].  O'Brien DP, Friedman ND, Walton A, Hughes A, Athan E. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2020. Ahead of Print.

In vitro investigation of auranofin as a treatment for Clostridium difficile infection. Roder C, Athan E. Drugs R. 2020. Ahead of Print.

Necrotising enterocolitis caused by Clostridium perfringens : A life-threatening manifestation of a common foodborne infection. [NOTE - Full text for Barwon Health staff; public can view abstract]. Walker HN, Liew K, Adams V, Larcombe S, Nagra SS, Guest G, Athan E. Med J Aust. 2020. Ahead of Print.

Clinical characteristics, etiology, and initial management strategy of newly diagnosed periprosthetic joint infection: a multicenter, prospective observational cohort study of 783 patients. Manning L, Metcalf S, Clark B, Robinson JO, Huggan P, Luey C, McBride S, Aboltins C, Nelson R, Campbell D, et al. Open Forum Infectious Diseases. 2020;;7(5):ofaa068

Cell-mediated and serology-based tests for Mycobacterium ulcerans disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Avumegah MS, Waidyatillake NT, Michalski WP, O’Brien DP, Nelson TM, Athan E. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2020;14(4): e0008172.

International society of cardiovascular infectious diseases guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disseminated Mycobacterium chimaera infection following cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Hasse B, Hannan MM, Keller PM, Maurer FP, Sommerstein R, Mertz D, Wagner D, Fernández-Hidalgo N, Nomura J, Manfrin V, et al. J Hosp Infect. 2020;104: 214-235.

Cited By

Enterococcal bacteraemia ‘silent but deadly’: A population‐based cohort study. [NOTE - Full text for Barwon Health staff; public can view abstract]. Cabiltes I, Coghill S, Bowe SJ, Athan E. Intern Med J. 2020;50(4): 434-440.

Cited By   Citation in Context

Antimicrobial anaphylaxis: The changing face of severe antimicrobial allergy. Hall V, Wong M, Munsif M, Stevenson BR, Elliott K, Lucas M, Baird AJ, Athan E, Young M, Pickles R, et al. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2020;75(1): 229-235.

Cited By

Six vs eight weeks of antibiotics for small Mycobacterium ulcerans lesions in Australian patients. O’Brien DP, Friedman ND, Cowan R, Walton A, Athan E. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2020;70(9): 1993-1997.

Cited By


Support Our Research

Participate in a Clinical Trial

To find out about clinical trials currently underway at Barwon Health, click here.


Clinical trials require ongoing investment and there are several ways to support this amazing work.

You can make a donation today and contribute to an item on our research wish list, consider a bequest in your will, or establish a lasting legacy fund in your name. No matter what size, your philanthropic support will deliver an immediate impact.

To donate now or for more information and further discuss your support, please contact the Barwon Health Foundation.

Wish List

  1. $1000 -$5000: Prospective database for Staph aureus bloodstream infections
  2. $5000 –$20000: Develop serology test for Buruli Ulcer exposure.
  3. >$20000: Biobank for all prosthetic joint infections in region

Last Modified: Tuesday, 21 February 2023

Research Lead


Professor Eugene Athan MBBS, FRACP (Infec Dis), MPH, MD

Director, Department of Infectious Diseases

Phone (03) 4215 2375


Bree Sarah photo

Ms Bree Sarah

Clinical Trials Unit Manager

[email protected]

Phone (03) 4215 2875

Barwon Health, University Hospital Geelong
66 Bellerine St, Geelong Vic 3220