In our research we use mathematical, computational and statistical methods to understand biological systems with a particular focus on the evolution of microbes. We have recently worked on the dynamics and evolution of antimicrobial drug resistance in pathogens, and we have a growing interest in the process of niche construction in microorganisms. We collaborate with evolutionary biologists, molecular biologists, mathematicians, statisticians and other researchers who are between these disciplines. Our collaborators in Australia include Andrew Francis, Scott Sisson, Peter White, Ruiting Lan, Andrew Collins Darren Curnoe and many others; our overseas collaborators include Roland Regoes, Tanja Stadler, Carl Bergstrom, Kevin Laland, Jeremy Kendal, Katia Koelle.

Our research has been supported by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council.


For a list of Mark's publications click here.

In the media

Fire and the origins of tuberculosis

Modelling work from our group (Rebecca Chisholm and Mark Tanaka, with collaborators James Trauer and Darren Curnoe) proposed a new hypothesis that the controlled use of fire in early humans triggered the emergence of tuberculosis as an infectious disease (published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). This work was covered by the media including The New York Times, ABC Science, The Atlantic). Bec was awarded BABS paper of the month (July) for this paper.

Drug resistant tuberculosis

Research on drug resistant tuberculosis from our group (by Fabio Luciani and Mark Tanaka) and collaborators Scott Sisson, Andrew Francis and Honglin Jiang, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has been covered by ABC News, ABC Radio PM , The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times and several other media outlets.

Traditional medicine and witchcraft

Mark's work with  Kevin Laland and Jeremy Kendal on understanding the spread of traditional medicines was covered by the New Scientist, ABC Science , the New York Times, Faculty of 1000 Biology, and other places. 

UNSW, Sydney, 2052 NSW, Australia | CRICOS Provider Code 00098G | ABN 57 195 873 179
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