Working Group Members

Dr Amy Loughman

Founder and Chair

Affiliations: Food & Mood Centre, IMPACT Institute, Deakin University

Dr Amy Loughman is a psychologist and Senior Research Fellow at Deakin University and leads the Microbiome Research Stream at the Food & Mood Centre. Amy’s research aims to uncover the role of the microbiome in brain function and mental health across the lifespan, with the ultimate goal of paving the way for novel prevention and treatment approaches. | @MBmicrobiome

Dr Matthew Snelson

Interim Chair June 2021 - May 2023; Website team

Affiliations: Department of Diabetes, Monash University

Dr Matthew Snelson is a dietitian and researcher interested in the role of diet in altering disease states via modulation of the gut microbiota. He completed his PhD at Monash University in 2019, investigating the effects of a processed diet on gut homeostasis. He is currently investigating the role of resistant starch on the development of diabetic nephropathy. | @Matt_Snelson

Dr Caitlin Cowan

Newsletter and Website teams

Affiliations: University of Sydney (School of Psychology)

Dr Caitlin Cowan takes a translational approach to the study of the microbiome-gut-brain axis, informed by her training in clinical psychology and behavioural neuroscience. Her work focuses on the early life microbiome might shape trajectories of mental health and neurodevelopment across the lifespan.


Prof Anthony Hannan

Affiliations: Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne

Professor Hannan received his undergraduate training and PhD from the University of Sydney.  He was then awarded a Nuffield Medical Fellowship at the University of Oxford, where he subsequently held other research positions before returning to Australia to establish a laboratory at the Florey Institute, University of Melbourne. He is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow. | @anthonyjhannan

Dr Hannah Rose Wardill

Social Media team

Affiliations: The University of Adelaide (Adelaide Medical School); South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI – Precision Medicine); The University Medical Centre Groningen (University of Groningen)

Hannah is an enthusiastic ECR leading a program of translational research focused on improving the QoL of people living with and beyond cancer. She uses a combination of in vitro, preclinical and clinical research to identify new ways of better supporting gut health in people undergoing cancer therapy, currently collaborating with Australasia’s largest stool bank to provide a new FMT service for people with blood cancer. | | @hannahrwardill

Assoc Prof Jakob Begun

Affiliations: Department of Gastroenterology, Mater Hospital Brisbane ; Mater Research Institute – University of Queensland Translational Research Institute ; The University of Queensland School of Medicine

A/Prof Jakob Begun obtained his MD and PhD in genetics at Harvard Medical School. His advanced training in Gastroenterology and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) was at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) where he developed a keen interest in the microbiome – immune system interactions. He runs a basic and translational laboratory investigating the interaction between innate immune functions of the gut and the microbial community.

Dr Lisa Stinson

Social Media team

Affiliations: School of Molecular Sciences, The University of Western Australia

Dr Lisa Stinson is a microbial ecologist and reproductive biologist with a particular expertise in working with low biomass samples. Her research interests include the early life microbiome, the human milk microbiome, and the developmental origins of health and disease. 


Madeline West

Secretary and Newsletter team

Affiliations: Food & Mood Centre, IMPACT Institute, Deakin University

Madeline is a PhD Candidate and research assistant at the Food & Mood Centre. Madeline's research focuses on the nutritional treatment of anorexia nervosa where she is particularly interested in gastrointestinal symptoms and the potential role of the gut microbiome.


Dr Catherine Butler

Newsletter team

Affiliations: Melbourne Dental School, University of Melbourne

Catherine is interested in all aspects of the oral microbiome in health and disease, which has lead to a broad portfolio of research. She is currently investigating the role that breastfeeding plays in the development of the infant oral microbiome, the microbiome of diseased gums from periodontitis patients that do not respond to standard treatments, and the role that oral bacteria play in the onset of Alzheimer's disease.


Professor Emad El-Omar

Affiliations: University of New South Wales, Microbiome Research Centre, St George & Sutherland Clinical School, St George Hospital 

Professor Emad El-Omar is the Professor of Medicine at the St George and Sutherland Clinical School, UNSW SYDNEY, and the Director of the Microbiome Research Centre at St George Hospital, Kogarah. Prof El-Omar has 20 years of gut microbiome research expertise. His other research interests include inflammation-driven gastrointestinal cancer, Helicobacter pylori infection and inflammatory bowel disease. He is the Editor in Chief of the journal Gut.


Hamdi Jama

Affiliations: Monash University

Hamdi is a final year PhD student from Monash University under the supervision of A/Prof Francine Marques and Prof David Kaye. Her PhD research is focused on understanding the role of the gut microbiota in the development of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. She is particularly interested in how maternal nutrient intake, especially dietary fibre, can be used to modulate the gut microbiota and cardiovascular outcome in offspring. 


Dr Jose Caparros-Martin 

Website team

Affiliations: Telethon Kids Institute

Dr Jose Caparros-Martin is a molecular geneticist by training and Research Fellow at the Wal-yan Respiratory Research Centre (Telethon Kids Institute). Jose's primary interests focus on investigating the mechanisms involved in the initiation and progression of chronic respiratory conditions, the signalisation pathways regulating the gut-lung axis in chronic lung disease, as well as the development  of microbiome-based strategies to treat chronic conditions affecting the respiratory system.


Dr Andrea Stringer 

Website team

Affiliations: University of South Australia (Clinical and Health Sciences)

Dr Andrea Stringer leads the Gut Health group, focusing on the role of vitamin D in the intestine. Andrea's work is mainly on gut function, particularly on the role of the gut microbiome (and the role of vitamin D on gut microbiome) in this environment. She works in the supportive care in cancer field, investigating the role of microbiome on gastrointestinal damage caused by cancer treatment, and also works closely with the Musculoskeletal Biology Research Group investigating links between gut health and bone outcomes. | @andreastringer1

Dr Fatima El-Assaad 

Website team

Affiliations: UNSW Microbiome Research Centre (MRC), School of Clinical Medicine, UNSW Medicine & Health, St George & Sutherland Clinical Campuses, University of New South Wales 

Dr Fatima El-Assaad is a Senior Research Associate at the UNSW Microbiome Research Centre (MRC). She oversees the development of the UNSW MRC and coordinates all the research, education and partnership activity within the centre. Fatima’s current interests lie in understanding the role of the microbiome in maintaining optimal health. She uses preclinical and clinical models to investigate host-microbe interactions and gut-organ axis across several inflammation-driven conditions. 


Dr Carolina Gubert

Website team

Affiliations: Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne

Dr Carolina Gubert is a Research Fellow at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.  She is interested in the gene-environment interactions and the microbiota-gut-brain axis in brain disorders. Using animal models, Carol's research targets the gut microbiome (e.g., using high-fibre diet, antibiotics, faecal microbiota transplant) aiming to identify therapeutic approaches for treating brain disorders.