One Health Research Group

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Team Leader

staff photo lee skerratt

Dr Lee Skerratt

Orange Bar

Postgraduate Students
Literature cited & recent articles
Selected research grants


Our research group investigates the causes and control of infectious diseases in wildlife that impact biodiversity, human health and domestic animal health.

The image at the top of the page is by Jontahan Kolby and was taken while performing chytrid surveillance of the international amphibian trade.


Infectious diseases of wildlife are becoming increasingly important as globalisation and environmental change are causing them to emerge and re-emerge. The One Health Research Group uses a multidisciplinary approach to provide holistic solutions to mitigate their impact (Skerratt et al 2009, Murray et al 2012).


One Health researchers Lee Berger and Rebecca Webb in the lab. Images from Rebecca Webb.

Our major ongoing research activity over the past 20 years has been the discovery and control of one of the major causes of global amphibian decline, chytridiomycosis (Berger et al 1998, Skerratt et al 2007). Other current research includes determining ways to improve the control of transmission of Hendra virus from flying foxes into horses and humans (Mendez et al 2012), assessing the risk of spill over of wild dog zoonoses (Banks et al 2006) and determining the importance of disease in the conservation of the endangered Proserpine rock wallaby and the vulnerable spectacled flying fox. Recent past work includes investigating the causes of avian influenza and Newcastle disease in waterfowl in northern Australia, both these diseases sporadically spill over into poultry (Hoque et al 2011).


Left: The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Right: Frog skin infected with B. Dendrobatidis. Images credit: Lee Berger, James Cook University.

The group provides advice on wildlife health issues to the general public, private companies, state and national governments and international bodies such as the IUCN and OIE. It is a member of the JCU level 1 research centre, Biosecurity and Tropical Infectious Diseases and the Queensland Tropical Health Alliance.

The group members and selected outputs are provided below. Further details of individual researchers’ contact details, full activities, outputs and project grants can be found on their staff web pages.


Dr Lee Berger ARC Future Fellow
Ms Diana Mendez Research Officer
Dr Reinhold Muller Associate Professor
Dr Andrea Phillott Adjunct Research Fellow
Dr Alex Roberts , Queensland Accelerate Fellow
Dr Sherryl Robertson, Pharmacy Technician
Dr Marcia Santos, Visiting virologist
Dr Ben Scheele, Postdoctoral Scientist

Dr Lee Skerratt Team Leader
EmPro Richard Speare Emeritus Professor
Ms Rebecca Webb Research Assistant

JCU collaborators

Dr Ellen Ariel
Assoc Prof Jeff Warner
Dr Jenni Scott
Prof Beverley Glass
Prof Nick Smith
Prof Lin Schwarzkopf
Dr Constantin Constantinoiu
Dr David Kault
Dr Donna Rudd
Adjunct Prof David Blair
Dr Jon Luly
Dr Dilini Thilakaratne

Adjunct Staff:

Dr Kris Murray, Imperial College London
Dr Kristine Smith, Ecohealth Alliance
Dr Jamie Voyles, New Mexico Tech
Dr Carla Ewels, Monash University
Dr Raina Plowright, Montana State University
Dr Stephanie Shaw

Postgraduate Students

JCU PhD Candidate

Research Topic


Ms Laura Brannelly

“Immunity to chytridiomycosis and its use in reintroduction of frogs” 2012-2015

L Skerratt, L Berger, D Hunter

Ms Carol Esson

Health and Conservation of Snow Leopards in Mongolia: A One Health approach

L Skerratt, L Berger, N Smith, J Scott

Ms Laura Grogan

“Determinants of chytridiomycosis” 2010-2014

L Skerratt, L Berger, S Cashins, R Speare, E Rosenblum

Mr Jon Kolby

“Mechanisms of spread of chytridiomycosis” 2011-2015

L Skerratt, L Berger, R Speare

Ms Jenny Laycock

Massey University PhD Candidate

“Anthropogenic mediated disease risks to New Zealand’s endemic Leiopelma frogs” 2011-2015

D Brunton, L Skerratt, P Bishop

Ms Tori Llewelyn

Development and Validation of a Model for Percutaneous Absorption in Frogs

B. Glass, L Berger

Mr Gerardo Martin

“Modelling the transmission of Hendra virus between flying foxes and horses” 2012-2016

L Skerratt, L Berger, H McCallum, K Murray, R Plowright, C Briggs

Ms Alicia McLean

Viral Disease of Australian Reptiles: Agamid Adenovirus

L Skerratt, E Ariel, L Berger, J Scott

Ms Diana Mendez


“Improving infection control and Hendra Virus risk management in veterinary practices in Queensland” 2012-2015

P Buttner, R Speare

Mr Ben Scheele

ANU PhD Candidate

“Epidemiology of chytridiomycosis in alpine frogs of southern Australia” , 2011-2015

D Driscoll, D Hunter, L Skerratt

Ms Amy Shima

Investigation and Monitoring of Health Status of Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo with Additional Investigations Comparing Biomedical Data of Several Species of Tree Kangaroo.

L Skerratt, L Johnson, L Berger

Ms Felicity Smout

“Risk of spill over of diseases from wild dogs in northern Australia” 2010-2014

L Skerratt, B Congdon, J Butler, C Johnson

One Health PostGrad Student list

Literature cited and selected recent articles

Banks, D.J.D, Copeman, D. B. and L. F. Skerratt. 2006. Echinococcus granulosus in northern Queensland. 2. Ecological determinants of infection in beef cattle. Australian Veterinary Journal 84: 308-311.

Berger L, Speare R, Daszak P, Green DE, Cunningham AA, Goggin CL, Slocombe R, Ragan MA, Hyatt AD, McDonald KR, Hines HB, Lips KR., Marantelli G, Parkes H. Chytridiomycosis causes amphibian mortality associated with population declines in the rain forests of Australia and Central America. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA. 1998; 95: 9031-9036.

Berger, L., Speare, R., Hines, H. B., Marantelli, G., Hyatt, A. D., Olsen, V., McDonald, K. R., Clarke, J. M., Gillespie, G., Mahony, M., Skerratt, L. F., Sheppard, N., Williams, C. and M. Tyler. 2004. Mortality in amphibians due to chytridiomycosis increases in winter with lower experimental temperatures. Australian Veterinary Journal 82: 434-439.

Garland S, James TY, Blair D, Berger L, Skerratt LF. 2011. Polymorphic repetitive loci of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 97:1-9.

Hoque, M.A, Burgess, G.W., Karo-Karo, D., Cheam A.L., Skerratt L.F. 2012. Monitoring of wild birds for Newcastle disease virus in north Queensland, Australia. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 103:49-62.

Mendez D, Judd J & Speare R. Unexpected result of Hendra virus outbreaks for veterinarians, Queensland , Australia. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2012 18(1):83-85

Murray K.A., Rosauer, D., McCallum, H, Skerratt, L.F. 2011. Integrating species traits with extrinsic threats: closing the gap between predicting and preventing species declines. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278:1515–1523.

Phillott, A.D., R. Speare, H.B. Hines, E. Meyer, L.F. Skerratt, K.R. McDonald, S. Cashins, L. Berger, D. Mendez. 2010. Hygiene principles to minimise exposure of amphibians to pathogens during field studies. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. Special 4:8. Chytridiomycosis: an emerging disease 92: 175-185.

Puschendorf R, Hoskin CJ, Cashins SD, McDonald K, Skerratt LF, Vanderwal J, Alford RA, Environmental refuge from amphibian extinction. Conservation Biology 2011 25: 956-964.

Skerratt, L.F., Berger, L., Speare, R., Cashins, S., McDonald, K., Phillott, A., Hines H., Kenyon, N. The spread of chytridiomycosis has caused the rapid global decline and extinction of frogs. EcoHealth 2007; 4: 125-134.

Skerratt, L.F., Garner, T.W.J., Hyatt, A.D. 2009. Determining causality and controlling disease is based on collaborative research involving multidisciplinary approaches. Ecohealth 6: 331-334.

Skerratt, L.F., Mendez, D., McDonald, K.R., Garland, S., Livingstone, J., Berger, L., Speare, R. 2011. Validation of diagnostic tests in wildlife: the case of chytridiomycosis in wild amphibians. Journal of Herpetology 45: 444-450.

Voyles, J., Young, S., Berger, L., Campbell, C., Voyles, W.F., Dinudom, A., Cook, D., Webb, R., Alford, R.A., Skerratt, L.F., Speare, R. Pathogenesis of chytridiomycosis, a cause of catastrophic amphibian declines. Science 2009; 326: 582-585

Selected research grants awarded in the last five years

2012–2015 LF Skerratt, H McCallum, K Murray, R Plowright. Modelling the transmission of Hendra virus between flying foxes and horses. RIRDC $150K

2012–2014 LF Skerratt, L Berger, R Speare, S Cashins, P Harlow, D Hunter, LP110200240. Using Adaptive and Innate Immunity to Chytridiomycosis to Save Amphibians from Extinction. ARC Linkage $210K

2012–2014 L Berger, LF Skerratt, R Speare J Mulvenna. DP120100811 Mechanisms of virulence of chytridiomycosis. ARC Discovery $230K

2011–2016 L Berger. FT100100375 Evolution of virulence and host immunity in an emerging disease, Chytridiomycosis as a model of a multi-host pandemic., ARC Future Fellow. $704K

2011–2013 LF Skerratt, L Berger, R Speare, S Cashins, E Rosenblum. Using Gene Expression Microarrays to Investigate the Genetic Basis of Immunity to Chytridiomycosis. Morris Animal Foundation, USA $95K

2009–2010 LF Skerratt, Berger L, Speare R, Hunter D, Marantelli G, Harlow P, Cashins SD. Inducing adaptive immunity and testing for innate immunity to chytridiomycosis to improve the success of reintroduction programs of endangered frogs Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease. $230K

2007–2010 G Burgess, LF Skerratt and B Congdon. “Epidemiology of avian influenza in aquatic birds in northern Queensland”. Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease, $321K