Michelle Power

Associate Professor

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Personal profile


Michelle is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Her research career began a parasitologist and has now broadened to consider co-infection and disease ecology within Australian ecosystems.

She is particularly interested in reverse zoonoses or the transmission of disease agents from humans to wildlife species. An interest that has seen emphasis on studies examining the dissemination of antimicrobial resistant bacteria to wildlife species and subsequent impacts for wildlife health.

She studies a suite of pathogens with an emphasis on gut parasites (Cryptosporidium and Giardia) and bacteria, and the interactions of these agents with diverse hosts (flying foxes, possums, koalas, Tasmanian devils, penguins and Australian sea lions). 

Her research outcomes are significant for wildlife and human health and aim to measure impacts of AMR to wildlife and identify the contribution of conservation management and wildlife rehabilitation to the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance. She also seeks out  innovative ways to increase public awareness, inclusive of the wildlife rehabilitation sector, on issues of AMR.

Research interests

Host parasite interactions

The study of parasites and their hosts has traditionally focussed on single host-single parasite models. However, recent information shows that interactions between endemic organisms (microbiota) and co-infecting agents influence infection outcomes. Within this framework we are examining parasite co-infections within the enteric system and relationships between co-infecting agents and the microbiota of the host. My research extends to aspects of co-evolution, parasite adaptation, co-infection, and diversity, taxonomy and epidemiology of a range of parasites including CryptosporidiumEimeria and Giardia

Antibiotic resistant bacteria in wildlife

The emergence of antimicrobial resistance is a major global health issue. Resistance is no longer only a human health issue with resistant bacteria having now spread to our wildlife. I am examining the spread of resistant bacteria to key wildlife species with the aim of understanding health impacts to wildlife, their role in further spread and persistence of resistant bacteria in the environment, and identification of wildlife indicators to monitor spread of resistant bacteria. 



Michelle is the current course director for the Bachelor of Medical Sciences. Her philosophy of teaching focusses on real world issues to engage students in the learning process and places them at the centre of learning through flipped classroom activities. Michelle has taught across a breadth of programs at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Her professional ethos centres on advancing excellence through activities and actions that integrate Research, Learning and Teaching and Outreach –the core of Macquarie University.

The integration of Research, Learning and Teaching and Outreach is evident through the Scoop a Poop Citizen Science project (scoopapoop.org.au). Scoop a Poop enables citizen scientists to contribute to the global fight against antibiotic resistance by collecting possum poop from the backyards and the samples are initially tested for antibiotic resistance genes by undergraduate students. 


Community engagement


‘We can’t blame animals’ The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/19/we-cant-blame-animals-human-pathogens-are-making-their-way-into-vulnerable-wildlife

The Lighthouse https://lighthouse.mq.edu.au/article/november-2020/new-front-opens-in-australias-fight-to-save-the-koalas


ABC Sydney Drive, Self-Improvement Wednesday, What are zoonoses? https://www.abc.net.au/radio/sydney/programs/self-improvement-wednesday/michelle-power/12767616

ABC Nightlife Emerging infectious disease panel discussion https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/nightlife/zoonotic-diseases-and-pandemics/12497566

ABC Radio Canberra – Scoop a Poop National Science Week event chat | Aug 15, 2020

Education/Academic qualification

Biological Sciences, PhD, Macquarie University

Zoology, Bachelor of Science, Macquarie University

External positions

Australian Wildlife Health Institute organising committee

2020 → …

Wild and Comparative Immunology Consortium

2019 → …

Birds and Marine Mammals Antarctic Wildlife Health Group , Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research SCAR

2016 → …


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