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Dr Anahit (Ani) Penesyan obtained her PhD from the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia) where she was working on a project exploring marine eukaryote-associated microbes for the production of bioactive metabolites, and the physiology/ecology of microbial biofilms under the supervision of Professor Staffan Kjelleberg.

Shortly after completing her PhD Dr Penesyan joined the research group of Professor Ian Paulsen at Macquarie University in 2011 where she was investigating antibiotic resistance in the hospital pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii

In 2011-2014, as an Australian Research Council (ARC) Super Science Fellow, Dr Penesyan worked with several research groups at Macquarie University on a collaborative project aiming to explore adaptations and interactions between microorganisms, and between microorganisms and the host in cystic fibrosis using multi-pronged -omics approaches. 

After completing the Super Science project, and the two periods of parental leave (2015-2017), Dr Penesyan rejoined Professor Paulsen’s group in June 2017 leading the research on microbial biofilms, with a particular focus on mechanisms underlying the resistance of microbial biofilms to environmental stressors, including antibiotics.

After 1.5 years at UNSW, in February 2021 Dr Penesyan returned back to Macquarie University and joined the laboratory of Professor Gillings. Dr Penesyan is currently leading biofilm research at the newly established ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology.

Dr Penesyan has a widely recognised expertise in using genomics/transcriptomics/bioinformatics to understand microbial interactions, their adaptation & evolution, as well as biofilms, antibiotic resistance, and microbial physiology/ecology. 

Research interests

  • Microbial biofilms
  • Infectious diseases and microbial pathogenicity
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Microbial evolution
  • Microbial ecology and physiology
  • Microbial interactions
  • Biotechnology and bioremediation
  • Drug discovery


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