The Koala Health Hub is hosted in a Faculty with a long history of research in koala health, and in wildlife health and conservation in general.
Our group’s research is multi-disciplinary, covering the many host, pathogen and environmental factors that interact to cause disease in koalas, the conservation and welfare implications of these diseases, and evaluating potential management approaches, including vaccination against chlamydial disease. Our studies have all broken new ground in infectious organisms (Chlamydia, Cryptococcus and Koala retrovirus); the koala immune system and factors affecting disease susceptibility; improved treatments for koala diseases; and the ability of koalas to cope with pollutants and the many toxins contained in their diet of eucalypt leaves. The group was founded, in 2005, on a 20-year history of koala disease research led by Professor Paul Canfield.
We have a long history of association with several koala hospitals, collaboration with other groups, and support of postgraduate research students. We are always keen to hear from prospective research students or postdoctoral fellows interested in pursuing studies in koala or wildlife health. If you are interested, please contact Assoc Prof Damien Higgins
Also within the Faculty there is a program in koala ecology, particularly in relation to climatic change, led by Assoc Prof Mathew Crowther, and a program in comparative pharmacology led by Assoc Prof Merran Govendir.
Current Koala Health Hub Research Projects
South West Sydney & Southern Highlands Koala Vaccination Project
We have designed a program of vaccination in koala populations extending from the Campbelltown region down to the Robertson region, that will allow us to assess the utility of the vaccine as an active management tool to prevent incursion of chlamydiosis.