A/Prof Cynthia Whitchurch

I am a Research Group Leader in the ithree institute and founding Director of the Microbial Imaging Facility at UTS. I obtained my BSc (Hons I) in 1989 and PhD in 1994 from the University of Queensland. I obtained postdoctoral training at the University of Queensland (1995-2001) and the University of California, San Francisco, USA (2001-2004). In 2004 I received an NHMRC R Douglas Wright Career Development Award (2004-2008) and returned to Australia to establish my own research group in the Department of Microbiology at Monash University.  In 2008 I was recruited to the University of Technology Sydney where I currently lead a research team in the (now) ithree institute. In 2009 I was awarded an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship. My current research program investigates bacterial lifestyles and their roles in infection and antibiotic resistance. As my research relies heavily on advanced microscopy techniques, I established the Microbial Imaging Facility at UTS to meet these needs. We have rapidly become recognized as world-leaders in the use of super-resolution microscopy techniques to study microbiology. Since joining UTS I have also led the establishment the Microbial Imaging Facility of which I am Director.

My research has produced a number of important paradigm shifts in our understanding of bacterial lifestyles.  Many of my published papers have high numbers of citations and continue to be cited. The most significant of these is the article published in 2002 in Science. At the time of publication this was ranked number 1 in "All of Biology" by the Faculty of 1000 and is ranked in the top category as "Exceptional". This paper has promoted a paradigm shift in our understanding of the architecture of bacterial biofilms and demonstrated a novel role for DNA in biology.