McConville Group

“We focus on a number of important parasitic and bacterial pathogens and undertake research to identify and validate new drug targets” - Malcolm McConville


The research in Malcolm McConville's laboratory is directed at understanding how microbial pathogens survive within their mammalian hosts, with the view of identifying new therapies including new anti-microbial agents and vaccines.

The McConville Group focuses on a number of important parasitic and bacterial pathogens that are the cause of malaria (Plasmodium falciparum), toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma gondii) human leishmaniasis (Leishmania spp) and tuberculosis (mycobacteria spp).  With more than half the world's population at threat of these diseases, current drug treatments and vaccines are inadequate or non-existent. While many aspects of the metabolism of these pathogens has been intensively studied in the laboratory, little is still known about their metabolism in the host, particularly when these pathogens invade and live inside host cells. The group has developed new methods for directly measuring the metabolism of pathogens in host cells and are using these approaches to identify and validate new drug targets.


Structural chracterization of primary and secondary metabolites from microbial pathogens (carbohydrates, lipids) using HPTLC, HPLC and mass spectrometry (GC-MS, LC-MS, NMR and bioinformatics. Analysis of enzyme activities in vivo and in vitro. Generation of transgenic parasite lines, general analysis of parasite ultrastructure and host-parasite interactions using advanced cell biology techniques (fluorescence microscopy, video microscopy, EM, subcellular fractionation).

Group Members

Group Leader

Professor Malcolm McConville

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr Julie Ralton

Dr Fleur Sernee

Dr Eleanor Saunders

Dr Katrina Binger

Dr Simon Cobbold

PhD students

Tim Liu

Jing-Nan Zhu

Honours Student

Eleanor Eddy

Benjamin McLean

Erin McGown


Professor Malcolm McConville has had a long-standing interest in the metabolism of microbial pathogens with the view of identifying new drug targets. He received his PhD from the University of Melbourne and held post-doctoral fellowships at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the University of Dundee, Scotland.

He moved his research group to the Department of Biochemistry in 1994 and since then has received substantial funding from the NHMRC, the Wellcome Trust, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is currently a Principal Research Fellow with the NHMRC and is involved in the establishment of the Metabolomics Australia hub in the Bio21 Institute.

Professor Malcolm McConville was Director of the Bio21 Institute 2015 - 2017 and Associate Director of the Institute's Structural Biology Research Theme. Malcolm McConville is the Associate Director for Platforms and Infrastructure.