Leah Roberts is completing her PhD in microbial genomics, supervised by A/Prof Scott Beatson and Prof Mark Schembri.

Having completed her undergraduate dual degree in Arts/Science at the University of Queensland (2013), she then moved onto Honours (2014) in the Beatson Lab to focus on insertion sequences within the Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) ST131 lineage. She also analysed the expression of type 1 fimbriae (T1P) and developed a computational method to determine inversion frequencies from NGS data.

Leah commenced her PhD in the Beatson Lab group in April 2015 to continue her research into insertion sequences in the ST131 lineage. Her more recent work has diverged into the application of whole genome sequencing to determine transmission pathways in nosocomial outbreaks to help clinicians understand and respond to outbreaks within hospital settings. More broadly, her interests lie in epidemiology and the study of disease outbreaks. Leah has a broad range of skills/knowledge in both bioinformatics and wet lab methods which gives her great insight across the full spectrum of research design and implementation.

Leah is currently working as a Senior Scientist at the Centre of Children’s Health Research (CCHR) investigating sequencing methods for novel diagnostic techniques directly from patient samples.


  • Bachelor of Arts (Japanese), Bachelor of Science (Hons class 1) (Microbiology)


  • ASM student representative (UQ) 2017-2018
  • ABACBS Student Representative (2018-2019)
  • COMBINE Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Student organisation Australia President (2017)
  • COMBINE Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Student organisation Australia Vice President (2016)
  • COMBINE Symposium Committee member (2016)
  • ABACBS Conference Committee member (2016)
  • Software Carpentry Instructor (2016)
  • OzHarvest Volunteer (2014-2018)
  • Camp Quality Volunteer (2010-current)


  • MMM2018 Best Poster Presentation (2018)
  • ASM Best Microbiology Talk – SCMB Symposium (2017)
  • SCMB Symposium First Prize student oral (2017)
  • BacPath14 Student Talk Prize (2017)
  • Student Poster Prize – Applied Bioinformatics and Public Health Microbiology (ABPHM) (2017)
  • Applied Bioinformatics and Public Health Microbiology (ABPHM) Travel Award (2017)
  • Becton Dickinson (BD) Student Award (Australian Society for Microbiology) – 2016
  • Tutor Excellence Award (2015)
  • Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship (2015)
  • University of Queensland Medalist (2014)
  • SCMB Microbiology Award (2014)
  • SCMB Honours Scholarship (2014)
  • Dean’s Commendation for High Achievement (Faculty of Science UQ) (2010-2013)
  • UQ Summer Research Scholarship (2012)
  • UQ Advantage Grant (Komazawa University, Tokyo) (2011)


  • Application of whole genome sequencing technologies in response to outbreaks in hospital settings
  • Using Nanopore sequencing for direct diagnosis from patient samples
  • Characterisation of plasmids and mobile genetic elements associated with resistance
  • Using whole genome sequencing to characterise bloodstream infections in paediatric patients


  • Integrating multiple genomic technologies to investigate an outbreak of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacter hormaechei
    LW Roberts, PNA Harris, BM Forde, NLB Zakour, M Stanton-Cook, …
    bioRxiv, 172536 2* 2019
  • Control of bacterial sulfite detoxification by conserved and species-specific regulatory circuits
    YJC Tan, C Zhao, M Nasreen, L O’Rourke, R Dhouib, L Roberts, Y Wan, …
    Frontiers in microbiology 10, 960 2019
  • Genomic investigation reveals contaminated detergent as the source of an ESBL-producing Klebsiella michiganensis outbreak in a neonatal unit
    P Chapman, B Forde, LW Roberts, H Bergh, D Vasey, AV Jennison, …
    bioRxiv, 568154 2019
  • Detection of epidemic scarlet fever group A Streptococcus in Australia
    MJ Walker, S Brouwer, BM Forde, KA Worthing, L McIntyre, L Sundac, S Maloney, L W Roberts, …
    Clinical Infectious Diseases 1 2019
  • Mastering resistant bacteria using whole genome sequencing
    T Hurst, M Doidge, K Hajkowicz, P Harris, B Forde, H Bergh, A Jennison, L Roberts, …
    Infection, Disease & Health 23, S11 2018
  • Managing an outbreak of extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Klebsiella oxytoca in a special care nursery (SCN)
    D Vesey, P Chapman, B Forde, L Roberts, H Bergh, A Jennison, …
    Infection, Disease & Health 23, S6 2018
  • Discovery of mcr-1-Mediated Colistin Resistance in a Highly Virulent Escherichia coli Lineage
    BM Forde, HM Zowawi, PNA Harris, L Roberts, E Ibrahim, N Shaikh, …
    mSphere 3 (5), e00486-18 1 2018
  • Effect of Piperacillin-Tazobactam vs Meropenem on 30-Day Mortality for Patients With E coli or Klebsiella pneumoniae Bloodstream Infection and Ceftriaxone Resistance: A …
    PNA Harris, PA Tambyah, DC Lye, Y Mo, TH Lee, M Yilmaz, TH Alenazi, …
    JAMA 320 (10), 984-994 60 2018
  • Whole genome analysis of cephalosporin-resistant Escherichia coli from bloodstream infections in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore: high prevalence of CMY-2 producers and …
    PNA Harris, NL Ben Zakour, LW Roberts, AM Wailan, HM Zowawi, …
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 73 (3), 634-642 11 2017
  • From isolate to answer: how whole genome sequencing is helping us rapidly characterise nosocomial bacterial outbreaks
    L Roberts
    Microbiology Australia 2017
  • Comprehensive analysis of type 1 fimbriae regulation in fimB‐null strains from the multidrug resistant Escherichia coli ST131 clone
    S Sarkar, LW Roberts, MD Phan, L Tan, AW Lo, KM Peters, DL Paterson, …
    Molecular microbiology 101 (6), 1069-1087 13 2016
  • Sequential acquisition of virulence and fluoroquinolone resistance has shaped the evolution of Escherichia coli ST131
    NLB Zakour, AS Alsheikh-Hussain, MM Ashcroft, NTK Nhu, LW Roberts, …
    MBio 7 (2), e00347-16 73 2016
  • Third-generation cephalosporin resistance conferred by a chromosomally encoded blaCMY-23 gene in the Escherichia coli ST131 reference strain EC958
    MD Phan, KM Peters, S Sarkar, BM Forde, AW Lo, M Stanton-Cook, …
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 70 (7), 1969-1972 6 2015