Associate Professor 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 marsupials and fish, amongst others. He co-leads USC’s Chlamydia research team (i) evaluating the use of vaccination to control chlamydial infections in koalas and livestock; (ii) characterising the immune response of koalas to chlamydial infection; (iii) developing immunological reagents and genetic resources for threatened and endangered native Australian marsupials; and (iv) comparing the genomes of chlamydial species infecting a diverse range of animal hosts.
Following the completion of his undergraduate studies at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Associate Professor 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. He also has adjunct appointments at the University of Sydney and University of Tasmania.
Associate Professor Polkinghorne commenced as the inaugural Director of USC's Centre for Animal Health Innovation in July 2015.