Infectious Diseases Systems Epidemiology Group

Head: Professor Alyssa Barry


Our research uses population-level systems biology together with epidemiological data to understand the interplay of host, pathogen and environment in driving patterns of infectious disease. This knowledge is used to understand pathogen transmission and biology, evolution of drug resistance and immune escape, susceptibility of the host to disease, and to develop novel and high-resolution approaches for infectious disease surveillance.

The group is using cutting edge technologies to characterise malaria parasites and their hosts, combining genomics, immune (antibody) profiling and epidemiological data using a variety of analytical approaches (bioinformatics, population genetics and biostatistics) to answer key questions in malaria biology and epidemiology such as:

  • how does changing transmission (as a result of environment or control) impact malaria parasite populations?
  • what factors drive resurgent and resistant malaria?
  • why does asymptomatic malaria become more prevalent at low transmission?
  • how do malaria parasites evade host immunity?
  • how do host genetics and immunity influence disease outcome?

Our work is informing strategies for malaria control and elimination including stratification of control efforts, diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. A critical component of our work is also to develop genomic surveillance capacity in malaria endemic countries.

We work closely with a large multidisciplinary network of local and international collaborators including clinicians, field researchers and public health practitioners which ensures the translation of our research into more effective disease control strategies. We host researchers and other stakeholders from malaria endemic countries for advanced training in genomic technology and applications.

In addition to our malaria work, we are interested in emerging infectious diseases such as yaws, Buruli ulcer and COVID-19.

The working group includes researchers based at Burnet Institute in Melbourne, and Deakin University in Geelong.

Key affiliations:

  • Systems Epidemiology of Infection Group, Institute for Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Translation (IMPACT), School of Medicine, Deakin University
  • Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
  • University of Melbourne

Staff Members

  • Professor Alyssa  Barry

    Professor Alyssa Barry
    Honorary Principal Research Fellow

  • Doctor Jessy Vibin

    Doctor Jessy Vibin
    Associate Research Fellow

  • Katelyn Stanhope

    Katelyn Stanhope
    Honours Student