Dr David McMillan

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Dr David McMillan

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Research areas

  • vaccine design and evaluation
  • pathogenesis of beta-hemolytic streptococci
  • genetic and genomics of streptococci
  • infections of medical devices
  • molecular microbiology
  • molecular epidemiology

Profile

Dr David McMillan gained his PhD in 1999 from the University of Wollongong. His postdoctoral studies were carried out as a Research Officer at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and later an Alexander Von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung mbH (GBF), Braunschweig, Germany. In 2005 Dr McMillan returned to Australia as a Senior Research Officer in the Bacterial Pathogenesis Laboratory at QIMR. In 2013 he commenced as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of the Sunshine Coast and is a member of the Inflammation and Healing Research Cluster.

Dr McMillan's current research interests are the β-hemolytic bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus, GAS) and S. dysgalactiae subspecies equisimilis (human group C and streptococci, SDSE). GAS associated diseases are estimated to kill 500,000 people each year. This burden of death makes GAS one of the Top Ten bacterial killers of humans. SDSE is considered an emerging pathogen with a disease spectrum similar to GAS. Changes in the disease epidemiology of GAS, and SDSE underscore the need to improve our understanding of the factors that contribute to specific disease outcomes, and to develop novel strategies that will aid in disease prevention.

Dr McMillan also has research interests in the area of bacterial colonisation and Infection of medical devices, a leading cause of hospital acquired infection. His research in this area has the aim of investigating new methods for diagnose and characterisation of bacterial colonisation of medical devices, and to develop novel technologies that reduce device colonisation.

Research projects

  • The role of SIC and DRS in protecting streptococci from antimicrobial peptides.
  • Development of group A streptococcal vaccines.
  • Genetics and genomics of Groups A and G streptococci.
  • Population structure and evolution of group G streptococcus.
  • Evaluation of bacterial colonisation of clinically derived catheters.
  • Characterisation of bacterial community structure of clinically derived catheters.

Research grants

  • Evaluation of a vaccine to combat common streptococcal diseases. McMillan, D.J., N. Ketheesan, L. Hafner, M. Sanderson-Smith and K. Sriprakash. NHMRC Project grant 2012-2014
  • The SAVE Trial: Securing All intraVenous devices Effectively in hospitals. A randomised controlled trial. Rickard, C., J. Fraser, J. Webster, A. Marshall, J. Young, G. Playford., D.J. McMillan, M. McGrail, J. Gowardman, O. Thom, H. Reynolds, J. Whitty, J. Crilly, K. Dunster, N. Marsh, N, S. Keogh, L. Zhang. NHMRC Project Grant. 2013-2016
  • Intravascular device administration sets: Replacement after Standard Versus Prolonged use (The RSVP Trial). Rickard C., M. Wallis, J. Young, J. Gowardman, M. Whitby, D.J. McMillan, J. Fraser, and L. Zhang. NHMRC Project grant (APP1008428). 2011-2014

Publications

Selected publications:

  • Bauer MJ, Georgousakis MM, Vu T, Henningham A, Hofmann A, Rettel M, Hafner LM, Sriprakash KS, McMillan DJ. 2012. Evaluation of novel Streptococcuspyogenesvaccine candidates incorporating multiple conserved sequences from the C-repeat region of the M-protein.Vaccine 30:2197-2205.

  • Smeesters PR, McMillan DJ, Sriprakash KS. 2010. The streptococcal M protein: a highly versatile molecule. Trends Microbiol 18:275-282.

  • McMillan DJ, Bessen DE, Pinho M, Ford C, Hall GS, Melo-Cristino J, Ramirez M. 2010. Population genetics ofStreptococcus dysgalactiaesubspeciesequisimilisreveals widely dispersed clones and extensive recombination.PLoS One 5:e11741.

  • Chhatwal GS, McMillan DJ, Talay SR. 2006. Pathogenicity Factors in Group C and G Streptococci, p. 213-221.In Fischetti VA, Novick RP, Ferretti JJ, Portnoy DA, Rood JI (ed.), Gram-positive pathogens, 2 ed. ASM Press, Washington D. C.

  • McMillan DJ, Beiko RG, Geffers R, Buer J, Schouls LM, Vlaminckx BJ, Wannet WJ, Sriprakash KS, Chhatwal GS. 2006. Genes for the majority of group A streptococcal virulence factors and extracellular surface proteins do not confer an increased propensity to cause invasive disease. Clin Infect Dis 43:884-891.

  • Sanderson-Smith M, De Oliveira DM, Guglielmini J, McMillan DJ, Vu T, Holien JK, Henningham A, Steer AC, Bessen DE, Dale JB, Curtis N, Beall BW, Walker MJ, Parker MW, Carapetis JR, Van Melderen L, Sriprakash KS, Smeesters PR; the M Protein Study Group. A systematic and functional classification of Streptococcus pyogenes that serves as a new tool for molecular typing and vaccine development. J Infect Dis. 2014

  • Smyth D, Cameron A, Davies MR, McNeilly C, Hafner L, Sriprakash KS, McMillan DJ. DrsG from Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis Inhibits the Antimicrobial Peptide LL-37. Infect Immun. 2014 Jun;82(6):2337-44.

Potential research projects for HDR and Honours students

Identification and Characterisation of novel antimicrobials targeting the ESKAPE pathogens

Background

The emergence of antimicrobial resistance is a major global issue in human health. For several pathogens, isolates have emerged for which no antibiotic is available. Antibiotic resistance organisms are of particular concern in hospitals and other clinical settings. The major antibiotic resistant organisms associated with nosocomial infection are called ESKAPE pathogens (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacterspp.).

There is a pressing need for the identification of new antimicrobial products to combat the ESKAPE pathogens. Whilst several synthetic antimicrobial drug discovery pipelines have been developed, their lack of success has revived interest in natural product drug discovery.

While some research characterising antimicrobial products of Australian plants has been undertaken, there are still numerous natives that have not been examined. The major goal of this research proposal is to identify and characterise antimicrobial compounds in Australian eucalypt species, including E. grandis, E. urophylla, C. citriodora, C. maculata, E. camaldulensis, E. tereticornis, E. dunnii, E. cloeziana, E. globulus and E. nitens.

Methodology

  1. Screening of selected plant extracts for antimicrobial properties targeting the ESCAPE pathogens
  2. Purification and identification of the active compounds in these extracts using activity guided fractionation
  3. Identification of the bacterial targets of these antibiotics.
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