Prof Benjamin Howden

Understanding the mechanisms and clinical impact of emerging antimicrobial resistance in gram-positive pathogens

Professor Benjamin Howden is the recently appointed Director of the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne, within the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. He is also an Infectious Diseases Physician at Austin Hospital. His research interests have been driven by working in the hospital system where antibiotic resistant pathogens such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci are a major problem. During his doctoral studies at Monash University (2004-2008) he used emerging genomic technologies to explore the molecular determinants of reduced vancomycin susceptibility in S. aureus. His current research activities include the application of genomics to understand the emergence, spread and pathogenesis of antimicrobial resistance bacterial pathogens; understanding the mechanisms and impacts of antimicrobial resistance, microbial adaptation, and changes in host-pathogen interactions during persistent Staphylococcus aureus infection; and exploring the role of non-coding (small) RNAs in the Staphylococcus aureus response to antimicrobials. His research is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia, and he is and NHMRC Career Development Fellow.