Keynote Speakers


Professor Marc Eloit

Marc Eloit

Marc Eloit has received his DVM from the Veterinary School of Maisons-Alfort and his PhD from University Paris VI. He is Professor of Virology and the former head of the Unit of Virology in Veterinary School of Maisons-Alfort (2002-2008). He joined in 2008 the Institut Pasteur to develop a program of Pathogen Discovery based on High Throughput Sequencing (HTS).

He is currently the head of the Pathogen Discovery laboratory. His objective is to identify and characterize unknown or unforeseen pathogens in human and animals with clinical conditions of unknown etiology, and the non-pathogenic component of the human virome.

He is also CSO of Pathoquest,  a spin-out of Institut Pasteur he has founded in 2010, which is dedicated to the diagnostic of human infectious diseases using HTS.


Associate Professor Cynthia Whitchurch

Cynthia WhitchurchAssociate Professor Whitchurch obtained her PhD from the Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology (CMCB) at the University of Queensland in 1994, and from 1995-2001 was a postdoctoral scientist and Assistant Group leader (1996-2001) to Prof John Mattick at the CMCB and the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB).

From 2001-2004 she obtained postdoctoral experience at the University of California San Francisco. She returned to Australia in 2004 to take up a NHMRC R Douglas Wright Career Development Award (2004-2008) and established an independent research group in the Department of Microbiology at Monash University.

In Jan 2008 Associate Professor Whitchurch moved to the ithree institute (formerly called the Institute for the Biotechnology of Infectious Diseases; IBID) at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and has worked there as an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow (2009-2014) leading an independent research group with an extensive research programme in bacterial pathogenesis, biofilm development, bacterial lifestyles and collective behaviors.

Since joining UTS Assoc. Prof. has also established and is the Director of the Microbial Imaging Facility.

Her most significant article was published in 2002 in Science. At the time of publication this journal was ranked number 1 in “All of Biology” by the Faculty of 1000 and is now 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.


Professor Mark Walker

PictureProfessor Mark Walker is the Director of the Australian Infectious Disease Research Centre. His research focuses on the mechanism by which group A streptococcus (GAS) causes invasive disease, with the aim of developing GAS vaccines. Diseases range from mild skin infections to severe diseases such as septicemia, and toxic shock syndrome and GAS is one of the 10 most common causes of infectious disease mortality worldwide.

In 1988 he undertook postdoctoral studies at the German National Centre for Biotechnology (Germany) in the  area of vaccine development, specifically the development of new, less reactive, whooping cough vaccines.

Upon recruitment to the University of Wollongong in 1991, he worked on pertussis vaccine projects and veterinary microbiology projects, including the the understanding of pathogenesis and development of vaccines against Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, the causative agent of swine enzootic pneumonia.

In 2000, his research focus transitioned from veterinary microbiology and into the field of group A streptococcal pathogenesis. He has built a collaborative network of national and international researchers to understand the emergence and evolution of GAS, investigate the host-pathogen interaction, and to translate these research findings into new therapeutics and vaccines.