GREENING LAB | ABOUT US
Established in 2016, the Greening Lab is based in the Department of Microbiology at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Melbourne, Australia. We are a diverse team of microbiologists, biochemists, ecologists, and bioinformaticians working together to understand the causes and consequences of bacterial persistence within a ‘one health’ framework.
Group Leader: Associate Professor Chris Greening
Chris continues to be amazed on a daily basis by the ‘superpowers’ of bacteria. Following a first-class degree in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, he undertook a doctorate down under investigating the physiological roles of the hydrogenases in mycobacteria. He then gained postdoctoral and lecturing experience at the University of Otago, CSIRO, and Australian National University.
In 2016, he was appointed as a group leader in Monash University’s School of Biological Sciences and completed an environmentally-focused ARC DECRA Fellowship. In 2021, he moved to Monash’s Department of Microbiology to take up a medically-focused NHMRC EL2 Fellowship. Trained in the fields of biochemistry and microbiology, Chris also has experience in genetics, microbial ecology, and molecular evolution, and enjoys working across disciplines. Away from the lab, he enjoys playing piano and saxophone, exploring Melbourne on his new bike, and getting taken for long walks by his two dogs.
Lab Manager: Tent (Thanavit) Jirapanjawat
Tent is the full-time research assistant, lab manager, and occasional dog-sitter for the Greening Lab. A graduate of the Australian National University, he did a BSc in Biology and an Honours in Chemistry. During Honours, under Chris’ co-supervision, he studied substrate promiscuity of F420-dependent enzymes in mycobacteria, resulting in three publications. At the Greening Lab, he has been involved in a range of projects in the ecology and physiology spaces. He is currently managing the AMR Testing & Surveillance Facility for the Centre to Impact AMR. In his spare time, he enjoys badminton, playing acoustic guitar, and cooking.
Postdoc: Dr Rachael Lappan
Rachael has come from the human microbiology field, completing her PhD in 2019 at the University of Western Australia on the microbiome of childhood ear infections. Excited to explore the universe of environmental microbiology, she joined the Greening lab in the same year to work on the RISE: Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments program. She is also involved in several other projects, exploring the metagenomes of more extreme environments (including arid deserts, termite mounds and oceans) with bioinformatics. When not at work she enjoys hosting board game nights, running Dungeons & Dragons games and looking at photos of other people’s dogs.
Postdoc: Dr Tom Watts
Tom completed his PhD at Monash University under the tutelage of Professor Julian Rood and Dr. Vicki Adams, where he studied plasmid conjugation and incompatibility in the clostridia. Following his PhD, he had a two-year stint as a Research Fellow in sweltering Singapore with Professor Kimberly Kline, where he worked to characterise the mechanisms of bistable pili expression in the opportunistic pathogen Enterococcus faecalis. Tom has returned to Australia to pursue a postdoc in the Greening Lab, where he will go back to his roots by working on clostridia, as well mycobacteria. When Tom is not typing furiously in the office, you can find him playing his guitar, painting bad self-portraits, loitering in local bouldering gyms or pursuing his goal of watching every movie ever made.
Postdoc: Dr Laura Woods
Laura is a bioinformatician, working on metagenomic analysis of samples from diverse ecosystems. Originally from Canada, Laura studied biology at the University of Western Ontario and bioinformatics at the University of Guelph. She escaped the cold winters to pursue a PhD here at Monash University investigating the impact of horizontal gene transfer on bacterial adaptation, for which she received her degree in 2021. Outside of work, she likes exploring the cafes and shops of Melbourne, and travelling to enjoy the natural beauty of Australia.
Postdoc: Dr Sean Bay
Sean is investigating microbial biodiversity and primary production in Antarctica. After completing his Honours in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Exeter, he spent time working as an environmental field officer down under, and then completed a Masters in Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Management at King’s College London. Sean has also worked on ecological restoration and monitoring projects within the context of environmental rehabilitation and agriculture. Following a highly successful PhD with Chris (2016-2020), he has recently started a postdoctoral fellowship through SAEF: Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future with Prof Steven Chown. He enjoys surfing, mountain biking and playing violin.
Research Assistant: Luis Jimenez
Luis has a background in host-pathogen interactions. He graduated from Monash University with a BSc and first class Honours in Genetics, during which he investigated the utility of the bacterial symbiont Wolbachia as a tool to control Dengue virus spread in wild mosquitoes. He then worked as a laboratory manager in the School of Biological Sciences at Monash, examining the relationship between sex, the environment, and disease in Daphnia. After travelling the Americas for two years, he returned to Australia and joined the Greening lab as a research assistant in 2021, where he now works on the isolation and cultivation of novel bacterial taxa from desert soil ecosystems. In his free time he enjoys bouldering with friends, studying Arabic and Spanish, and cooking.
Bioinformatician: Michael Milton
Michael is a bioinformatician working as a part time research assistant on hydrogenase classification and metagenomics analysis at the Greening lab. He graduated from the University of Melbourne with a first-class Bachelor of Science, majoring in Molecular Biology, and with a Diploma of Informatics. Subsequently he spent five years at Melbourne Genomics improving software for genomic healthcare, focusing on the development and improvement of analysis pipelines, porting them to the cloud, and studying quality control for next generation sequencing. Michael is also simultaneously in the process of studying for a Masters of Data Science at the University of Melbourne.
PhD Student: Bob (Pok Man) Leung
Bob is using culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches to understand microbial diversity and productivity in global desert ecosystems. During his undergraduate year in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, he was involved in multiple projects on marine biology with cultivation and metagenomics. Before joining Greening lab, he worked as a research intern in Bartlett lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, isolating extremophiles from high pressure sub-seafloor environment. He enjoys wandering with self-reflection, watching basketball and tennis, and exploring painless ways to stay healthy.
PhD Student: Katie Bayly
Katie’s PhD focuses on the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis and its ability to utilise alternate energy sources during persistence within the host. Prior to starting her PhD, she majored in Genetics and Biochemistry at Monash University, with a minor in Microbiology. She then completed a first-class Honours project in the Greening lab, in which she investigated the role of carbon monoxide oxidation in mycobacterial persistence, and was awarded the Monash University Genetics Honours Prize in 2018. In her spare time, Katie enjoys reading, relaxing, and playing games (both video and tabletop) with her friends.
PhD Student: David Gillett
David is studying the cellular and biochemical basis of how mycobacteria adapt to oxygen deprivation. During his first-class Honours project in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Melbourne, he studied the protein-importing complexes of mitochondria. He stayed at Melbourne University as a Research Assistant, working to develop proteasome inhibitors as treatment for the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. In his spare time, David plays guitar and watches TV shows he doesn’t really even enjoy.
PhD Student: Caitlin Welsh
Caitlin recently completed her Bachelor of Science at Monash University majoring in Microbiology and Zoology, with a keen interest in bacteria. She joined the Greening lab for an Honours project in 2019 focusing on characterisation of novel lineages of hydrogen-scavenging bacteria. After a bioinformatics-focused research assistant position, she has recently embarked on a PhD focused on hydrogen metabolism in the human gastrointestinal tract. When not at university Cait enjoys travelling as much as possible, spending time in the garden, birdwatching and looking after her many fish.
PhD Student: Thilini Koralegedara
Thilini completed her Honours at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka, and recently gained her masters in Biotechnology as the highest achieving graduate from Swinburne University of Technology. She focused on cloning lipase genes from thermophilic bacteria and analysing the compost fungal microbiome as parts of her research. She joins the Greening lab as a PhD student to uncover the effects of carbon monoxide on Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Thilini likes to explore different parts of the world, experiment with arts and crafts, and de-stress by watching variety shows and cat videos on YouTube.
PhD Student: Thanh Nguyen
Thanh is studying microbial pathways controlling greenhouse gas emissions in coastal permeable sediments. After completing his Bachelors degree at the University of Science and Technology of Hanoi, he continued his study in the inter-university master programme of Oceans & Lakes in Belgium, where he focused on ecotoxicology and environmental biomonitoring. Before joining the Greening lab, he worked on different projects which examined effects of contaminants like heavy metals and microplastics on physiological health of aquatic organisms. In his free time, Thanh enjoys cooking, painting and learning foreign languages.
PhD Student: Ashleigh Kropp
Ash is a research assistant in the Greening Lab and works on the biochemistry and structural biology projects. She completed her undergraduate, Honours, and Masters of Philosophy degrees at the University of Melbourne/WEHI, writing her thesis on the structural and functional role of specific human kinases that are involved in numerous cancers. In late 2019, Ash joined the Greening lab first as a research assistant and then as a PhD student. She primarily works on the biochemistry of hydrogenases in Mycobacterium smegmatis, specifically investigating their structure and their transcriptional regulation. Outside of work, Ash loves yoga and pilates, trashy reality TV, and being with her friends.
Honours Student: Isabelle Magnin-Bougma
Isa started her science studies by obtaining a Diploma of Laboratory Technology at RMIT University. She then completed her Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology) degree, majoring in Microbiology, and has a strong interest in medical microbiology and how pathogens manage to survive in challenging conditions. Isa is now joining the Greening lab as an Honours student, to study the potential roles of nitrate, hydrogen and carbon monoxide for mycobacterial survival under hypoxia. Apart from studying, Isa enjoys discovering new and hidden local places around Melbourne, eating out and relaxing with a good book or movie.
Honours Student: James Archer
James has just completed his Bachelor of Science at Monash University, throughout which he developed a love for Microbiology. In his final year, he developed a new interest in gene regulation, and hopes to explore this further during his upcoming Honours project focused on the regulation of mycobacterial trace gas oxidation. In his spare time, James enjoys playing basketball, gaming with his friends and producing music.
Co-supervised PhD students
Ning is investigating microbial greenhouse gas production in permeable marine sediments. She enjoys the challenge of working in an interdisciplinary team bridging gaps between biogeochemistry and microbiology. She completed first-class Honours in Chemistry at Monash, studying volatile fatty acid production by marine bacteria. Before turning to science, Ning studied Javanese dance in Indonesia and continues to enjoy teaching and performing in Melbourne. She is principally supervised by Prof Perran Cook.
Tess is investigating pathways of organic carbon degradation in permeable marine sediments (sand) with a focus on fermentation, hydrogen metabolism, and organic storage products. In 2018, she completed first-class Honours on a similar topic. Tess enjoys the field work that comes with her project, having visited beaches across Australia and Denmark in the name of research. In her spare time, Tess enjoys reading, travelling and eating delicious things. She is principally supervised by Prof Perran Cook.
Maha’s PhD is examining the coupling of iron oxidation to nitrate reduction. She completed her Master’s degree at Taibah University, Saudi Arabia, focusing on isolating exopolysaccharide-producing Azotobacter strains. Maha subsequently completed a medical internship and worked as a teaching assistant in Taibah University and King Abdulaziz University. In her free time, she enjoys relaxing, cooking, and spending time with my family. She is principally supervised by Prof Perran Cook.
- Blair Ney: Research Assistant, 2017 – 2018. Currently medical doctor at St Vincent’s Hospital.
- Joanna Feng: Honours Student, 2017. Currently laboratory technician at Generation Victoria.
- Dr Tom Lines: Research Assistant, 2018. Currently postdoctoral fellow at University of Adelaide.
- Dr Maria Chuvochina: Research Assistant, 2018. Currently research assistant at University of Queensland.
- Dr Karen Jordaan: Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, 2018 – 2019: Currently postdoctoral fellow at Pontificia Universidad Católica (Chile).
- A/Prof Osnat Gillor: Sabbatical, 2019. Currently group leader at Ben Gurion University of the Negev (Israel).
- Dr Ya-Jou Chen: PhD student, 2016-2020. Currently postdoctoral fellow at McGill University (Canada).
- Dr Zahra Islam: PhD student, 2017-2020. Currently postdoctoral fellow at University of Melbourne.
- Guy Shelley: Honours Student, 2018 and Research Assistant, 2019. Currently in public service training program.
- Dr Eleonora Chiri: Postdoctoral fellow, 2017-2020. Currently on sabbatical.
- Dr Rhys Grinter: Postdoctoral fellow, 2018-2020. Currently group leader at Monash University.
- Abraham Freijah: Honours Student, 2019-2020. Current technical assistant at Alfred Health.
- Jie Mao: Internship, 2020-2021. Currently bioinformatician at Children’s Cancer Institute.
- Dr Sarah Reeve: Co-supervised PhD student, 2017-2021. Currently environmental consultant at Prensa Ltd.
- Dr Paul Cordero: PhD student, 2017-2021. Currently postdoctoral fellow at Aachen University (Germany).
- Dr Laura Perlaza-Jimenez: Postdoctoral fellow, 2020-2021. Currently at Monash Bioinformatics Platform.
- Quynh Nguyen: Intern, 2021-2022. Currently technical assistant at Alfred Health.