Dr Adam Polkinghorne

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Dr Adam Polkinghorne


Research areas

  • molecular epidemology of chlamydial infections of humans and animals
  • comparative genomics of bacterial pathogens
  • development and evaluation of chlamydial vaccines in animals
  • measurement and understanding of marsupial immune responses


Dr Adam Polkinghorne is a molecular microbiologist and Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering at the University of the Sunshine Coast. His research focuses on the obligate intracellular bacterium, Chlamydia, and he is interested in understanding the origin, transmission and evolution of chlamydial infections in humans and a variety of animals including livestock, native Australian mammals and fish, amongst others. He co-leads USC’s Chlamydia research team evaluating the use of vaccination to control chlamydial infections in koalas and livestock and co-leads the group’s efforts as part of a large multi-institution consortium to sequence and analyse transcriptome and genome sequences of the koala.

Following the completion of his undergraduate studies at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Dr Polkinghorne completed his doctoral studies between QUT and the Institute of Veterinary Pathology, University of Zurich, Switzerland. He subsequently remained in Switzerland as a postdoctoral fellow investigating the association of novel chlamydial organisms with diseases in animals. He returned to QUT to take up an appointment as an academic in the Faculty of Science and Technology and eventually the School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, where he has retained an adjunct appointment.


  • 2013 Australian Institute of Policy and Science Queensland Young Tall Poppy Award


Many of Dr Adam Polkinghorne's publications are available from the USC Research Bank.

Research grants

YearResearchersGrantFunding amountProject name
2014-2017 Adam
Polkinghorne, Peter Timms, Scott Carver (UTas)
Linkage Project

Improving the diagnosis, management and control of chlamydial infections in Australian livestock

2014-2015 Adam

McGarvie Smith Institute Trust


Development and evaluation of a prototype Chlamydia pecorum vaccine to reduce economic losses associated with chlamydial polyarthritis and conjunctivitis in NSW Sheep

2013-2016 Adam
Polkinghorne, Peter Timms

Qld DEHP Koala Research Grant

A$207,000 Koala Chlamydia pecorum virulence profiling
2012–2015 Peter
Timms, Adam Polkinghorne

ARC Discovery Project


Understanding the origin, epidemiology and transmission threat of chlamydial infections between Australian native animals and livestock

2012-2015 Peter
Timms, Kenneth Beagley, Adam Polkinghorne
Linkage Project
A$750,000 Development of a safe and immunogenic
anti-chlamydia vaccine for the koala









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