Dr Eva Heinz

Lecturer in Disease Genomics

Eva completed her Masters and PhD at the Department of Microbial Ecology, University of Vienna, supervised by Michael Wagner and Matthias Horn, comparing non-pathogenic to pathogenic Chlamydiae. Supported by a Marie-Curie fellowship, Eva moved to the UK to work with Martin Embley at Newcastle University, investigating reductive genome evolution of eukaryotic parasites. Eva then crossed the ocean to Melbourne to work on bacterial cell surfaces in the lab of Trevor Lithgow (Monash University) as a Fellow Laureate Post-Doctoral Research Associate. The offer of a senior staff scientist position at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and her interest in genome evolution brought Eva back to the UK, where she investigated the population dynamics of infectious disease pathogens and how this is impacted by antimicrobial resistance using large-scale genomic datasets, working with the teams of Gordon Dougan and Nicholas R. Thomson.

Eva joined the Vector Biology Department January 2019, to bring together the clinical expertise at LSTM with her expertise in molecular evolution to address the global health threat of spreading antimicrobial resistance, its impact on pathogen populations and the balance between intrinsic and acquired resistance mechanisms.


A main group of projects target the evolution of high-risk lineages in Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, and the impact of antimicrobial resistance on bacterial population dynamics, which will be addressed with comparative genomics, transcriptomics and further large-scale phenotyping.

Projects focusing on mobile elements (phages, plasmids) and their impact on pathogens will be addressed through combining short-read datasets with in-house long-read sequencing (MinION) to resolve structural chromosome rearrangements and plasmid structures.

Research addressing the evolution of bacterial cell surface proteomes for more efficient vaccine design are addressed through large-scale comparative genomics and protein family evolution using hidden markov models (HMM). 

Current co-supervision: Gal Horesh, main supervisors Nicholas R. Thomson and Leopold Parts (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute).  Mechanisms of persistence.

Previous co-supervision:

25%: Von Vergel Torres, Monash University, main supervisor Prof. Trevor Lithgow. Cellular and molecular imaging of biofilm communities and the effects of antimicrobial peptides. Completed successfully 2018

30%: Pankaj Deo, Monash University, main supervisor Dr. Thomas Naderer.  The role of Neisserial "blebs" on host cell biology during infection. Completed successfully 2017

25%: Christopher Stubenrauch, Monash University, main supervisor Prof. Trevor Lithgow.  The Translocation and Assembly Module (TAM) participates in the assembly of fimbrial ushers, inverse autotransporters and LptDE. Completed successfully 2016

Selected publications

  • Microb Genom. 2019 Apr 29. doi: 10.1099/mgen.0.000266. [Epub ahead of print]
    Caribbean multi-centre study of Klebsiella pneumoniae: whole-genome sequencing, antimicrobial resistance and virulence factors.
    Heinz E Brindle R Morgan-McCalla A Peters K Thomson NR

    SLING: a tool to search for linked genes in bacterial datasets. Horesh G, Harms A, Fino C, Parts L, Gerdes K, Heinz E, Thomson NR. Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Nov 30;46(21):e128 PMID: 30124998

    Ejaz H, Wang N, Wilksch JJ, Page AJ, Cao H, Gujaran S, Keane JA, Lithgow T, ul-Haq I, Lithgow TJ, Strugnell RA, Heinz E. Phylogenetic analysis provides a global context for Klebsiella pneumoniae isolated from children in a Pakistani hospital. 2017 Emerging Infectious Diseases 23(11):1872-1875 PMID: 29048298
    Constraints on lateral gene transfer in promoting fimbrial usher protein diversity and function. Stubenrauch CJ, Dougan G, Lithgow T, Heinz E. Open Biol. 2017 Nov;7(11). PMID: 29142104

    Heinz E, Stubenrauch CJ, Grinter R, Croft NP, Purcell AW, Strugnell RA, Dougan G, Lithgow T. Conserved features in the structure, mechanism and biogenesis of the inverse autotransporter protein family. 2016 Genome Biology and Evolution 8(6):1690-705 PMID: 27190006

    Heinz E, Williams TA, Nakjang S, Noel C, Swan DC, Goldberg AV, Harris SR, Weinmaier T, Markert S, Becher D et al. The genome of the obligate intracellular parasite Trachipleistophora hominis: new insights into microsporidian genome dynamics and reductive evolution. 2012 PLoS Pathogens 8(10):e1002979 PMID: 23133373

    Williams TA, Embley TM, Heinz E. Informational gene phylogenies do not support a fourth domain of life for nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses. 2011 PLoS ONE 6(6):e21080 PMID: 21698163