Mark Ambrose

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Mark Ambrose

Lecturer (Medical Microbiology)

Room 240-02 (Level 2), Medical Sciences 1, Hobart CBD Campuses

+61 3 6226 4669 (phone)

Dr Mark Ambrose is a lecturer and researcher in the School of Medicine (Faculty of Health) at the University of Tasmania. He is currently co-leader of the Host-Pathogen Interactions Research Group.


Before joining the University of Tasmania, he completed postdoctoral studies in DNA repair and mutagenesis at the Harvard School of Public Health (Harvard University), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology  (MIT), and at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Career summary


  • PhD, La Trobe University, Australia. 
  • BSc, La Trobe University, Australia.


Professional practice

  • American Society for Microbiology (ASM): 2007-current
  • Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM): 2012-current
  • Australian Society of Antimicrobials: 2014-current
  • Member of the University of Tasmania's Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) (2013 - current)


Microbiology, Molecular Biology.

Teaching responsibility

Units Taught

View more on Dr Mark Ambrose in WARP


  • Microbial genetics and physiology
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • DNA repair and mutagenesis assays
  • Tissue culture
  • Gene expression profiling

Research Themes

Dr Ambrose's research focus is on DNA-damage signalling, DNA repair, and mutagenesis in bacteria, yeast and human model systems. In particular, his research emphasises the use of conventional mutation detection assays, along with whole genome and proteome interrogation methodologies, to investigate the impact of physiological stress on the activation and modulation of damage-inducible error-prone DNA repair pathways. His research aimed at understanding how bacteria develop antimicrobial resistance during colonisation of the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis (CF) is aligned to the University's research theme of Better Health.

Fields of Research

  • Medical Bacteriology (110801)
  • Anthropological Genetics (060401)
  • Infectious Diseases (110309)
  • Respiratory Diseases (110203)
  • Conservation and Biodiversity (050202)
  • Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences (111599)
  • Health and Community Services (111708)
  • Ecology (060299)
  • Higher Education (130103)
  • Cancer Genetics (111203)
  • Radiation Therapy (111208)
  • Epigenetics (incl. Genome Methylation and Epigenomics) (060404)
  • Innate Immunity (110707)

Research Objectives

  • Endocrine Organs and Diseases (excl. Diabetes) (920106)
  • Infectious Diseases (920109)
  • Respiratory System and Diseases (incl. Asthma) (920115)
  • Human Pharmaceutical Treatments (e.g. Antibiotics) (860803)
  • Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences (970111)
  • Cancer and Related Disorders (920102)
  • Education and Training (939999)
  • Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales (960805)
  • Plastics in Primary Forms (860606)
  • Digestive System Disorders (920105)
  • Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species at Regional or Larger Scales (960405)
  • Women's Health (920507)


Total publications


Journal Article

(13 outputs)
2017Ambrose M, Murray L, Handoyo NE, Tunggal D, Cooling N, 'Learning global health: a pilot study of an online collaborative intercultural peer group activity involving medical students in Australia and Indonesia', BMC medical education, 17 Article 10. ISSN 1472-6920 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1186/s12909-016-0851-6 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Murray L; Cooling N


2016Ambrose M, Malley RC, Warren SJ, Beggs SA, Swallow OFE, et al., 'Pandoraea pnomenusa isolated from an Australian patient with cystic fibrosis', Frontiers in microbiology, 7 Article 692. ISSN 1664-302X (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00692 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Malley RC; Beggs SA; Roddam LF


2015Ee R, Ambrose M, Lazenby C, Williams P, Chan K-G, et al., 'Genome sequences of two Pandoraea pnomenusa isolates recovered 11 months apart from a cystic fibrosis patient', Genome Announcements, 3, (1) Article e01389-14. ISSN 2169-8287 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.01389-14 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3

Co-authors: Roddam L


2015Gizdavic-Nikolaidis MR, Pagnon JC, Ali N, Sum R, Davies N, et al., 'Functionalized polyanilines disrupt Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus biofilms', Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 136 pp. 666-673. ISSN 0927-7765 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2015.10.015 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Ali N; Davies N; Roddam LF


2013Ambrose M, Gatti RA, 'Pathogenesis of ataxia-telangiectasia: the next generation of ATM functions', Blood, 121, (20) pp. 4036-4045. ISSN 0006-4971 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1182/blood-2012-09-456897 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 81Web of Science - 78


2011Gizdavic-Nikolaidis MR, Bennett JR, Swift S, Easteal AJ, Ambrose M, 'Broad spectrum antimicrobial activity of functionalized polyanilines', Acta Biomaterialia, 7, (12) pp. 4204-4209. ISSN 1742-7061 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2011.07.018 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 66Web of Science - 56


2010MacPhee DG, Ambrose M, 'Catabolite repression of SOS-dependent and SOS-independent spontaneous mutagenesis in stationary-phase Escherichia coli', Mutation Research, 686, (1-2) pp. 84-89. ISSN 0027-5107 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2010.01.022 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4


2007Ambrose M, Goldstine JV, Gatti RA, 'Intrinsic mitochondrial dysfunction in ATM-deficient lymphoblastoid cells', Human Molecular Genetics, 16, (18) pp. 2154-64. ISSN 0964-6906 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddm166 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 84Web of Science - 80


2007Rusyn I, Fry RC, Begley TJ, Klapacz J, Svensson JP, et al., 'Transcriptional networks in S. cerevisiae linked to an accumulation of base excision repair intermediates', PLoS One, 2, (11) pp. e1252. ISSN 1932-6203 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001252 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 12


2003Hofseth LJ, Khan MA, Ambrose M, Nikolayeva O, Xu-Welliver M, et al., 'The adaptive imbalance in base excision-repair enzymes generates microsatellite instability in chronic inflammation', Journal of Clinical Investigation, 112, (12) pp. 1887-94. ISSN 0021-9738 (2003) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1172/JCI200319757 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 153Web of Science - 154


1998Ambrose M, MacPhee DG, 'Catabolite repressors are potent antimutagens in Escherichia coli plate incorporation assays: experiments with glucose, glucose-6-phosphate and methyl-alpha-D-glucopyranoside', Mutation Research, 398, (1-2) pp. 175-82. ISSN 0027-5107 (1998) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/S0027-5107(97)00315-1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 7


1998Ambrose M, MacPhee DG, 'Glucose and related catabolite repressors are powerful inhibitors of pKM101-enhanced UV mutagenesis in Escherichia coli', Mutation Research, 422, (1) pp. 107-12. ISSN 0027-5107 (1998) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/S0027-5107(98)00179-1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5


1996MacPhee DG, Ambrose M, 'Spontaneous mutations in bacteria: chance or necessity?', Genetica, 97, (1) pp. 87-101. ISSN 0016-6707 (1996) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/BF00132585 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 8


Conference Publication

(1 outputs)
2015Cooling NB, Ambrose M, Murray LJ, Handoyo NE, Dedi MAE, 'Reciprocal intercultural peer e-learning in global health: Experiences and perceptions of Australian and Indonesian third-year medical students', 7th International Conference on Public health among the Greater Mekong Sub-Regional Countries, 25-27 September 2017, Hue, Vietnam (2015) [Plenary Presentation]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Cooling NB; Murray LJ

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Non-conventional antimicrobial testing of emerging pathogens (2017)$10,000
Pandoraea, is an emerging bacterial pathogen of cystic fibrosis. Conventional antibiotic susceptibility testing shows Pandoraea to be multi-drug resistant with limited treatment options. We will investigate the antibiotic susceptibility of Pandoraea using non-conventional methods to determine if we are underestimating treatment options for this chronic infection.
Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation ($10,000)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Roddam LF; Beggs S; Ambrose M; Malley RC
Anti-inflammatory efficacy of Marinovas Fucoidan & interactions with microbiota (2016)$100,000
Industry interaction to develop Marinovas fucoidan extracts for gut health
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science ($50,000); Marinova Pty Ltd ($50,000)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Guven N; Eri RD; Ahuja KDK; Ball MJ; Ambrose M; Roddam LF; Zosky GR
Molecular profiling of the post radiotherapy chromatin landscape in prostate cancer cells (2016)$33,000
This project will investigate the basal and post radiotherapy epigenetic changes in prostate cancer cells with divergent response to radiotherapy (RT). It will validate methylation data obtained from illumina Infinium 450 beadchip arrays, profile histone modifications post RT and investigate DNA damage post RT in cells treated with inhibitors of epigenetic enzymes (DNMT and HDAC).
Cancer Council of Tasmania ($33,000)
Grant-Cancer Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Brettingham-Moore KH; Ambrose M; Holloway AF; Skala M; Taberlay PC
Prevalence and virulence of an emerging bacterial pathogen of Tasmanian cystic fibrosis patients (2015)$11,100
Pandoraea, an emerging bacterial pathogen of cystic fibrosis is difficult to identify, is of unknown clinical significance and was recently isolated from a Tasmanian CF patient. we will investigate the prevalence of Pandoraea in Tasmanian CF patients, describe its virulence potential and investigate its susceptilility to our new antimicrobial therapy.
Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation ($11,100)
Grant-Clinical Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Roddam LF; Ambrose M; Beggs S; Cooley MA; Malley RC; Warren Sanchia; Wilson RR; McEwan B
A human paraoxonase 2-based therapy for cystic fibrosis A (2014 - 2016)$15,000
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common genetic condition affecting Australians. People with CF carry a mutation in a gene, which is essential for maintaining the proper balance of salt and water in lungs. As a result, CF patients experience a continuous build-up of thick and sticky mucous in their lungs, which can be colonised by many different types of microorganisms, and especially by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Infections by P. aeruginosa cannot be completely eradicated using currently available antibiotics because cells of this organism can group together to live in so-called biofilms (which are essentially protected cell communities), which antibiotics simply fail to penetrate successfully. This project will investigate ways to make P. aeruginosa more susceptible to existing antibiotics. The approach aims to prevent/disrupt the grouping together of individual bacterial cells in the first instance, thereby allowing the antibiotics to kill them more effectively. Current research is producing in the laboratory a human anti-biofilm enzyme, known as human paraoxonase 2 (PON2). PON2 is usually produced inside of human cells, which means it is not able to attack the bacterial cells that usually live outside human cells. By administering the recombinant human PON2 (as an aerosol, for example), together with certain antibiotics, it is anticipated that prevention and/or eradication of P. aeruginosa infections will be possible in people with CF.
Australian Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust ($15,000)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Roddam LF; Cooley MA; Ambrose M
2014 - 2016
Testing a new therapy against lung infections for people with cystic fibrosis (2013)$67,782
P. aeruginosa uses small diffusible signal molecules called acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) to alter its growth, which enables it to hide from antibiotic therapies and the immune system of the host thereby preventing its eradication from the lungs. These bacterial AHL molecules can also enter and affect human cells leading to further lung damage. This project aims to demonstrate that a novel therapy that inactivates bacterial AHLs can protect human cells from these molecules. Demonstration of this is the first step in showing that this therapy can protect the lungs of people with CF from P. aeruginosa infections. In summary, this new treatment approach should at a minimum prevent a significant amount of the lung damage that occurs, resulting in better quality of life and increased life span. More importantly, this therapy also has the potential to prevent P. aeruginosa lung infections in CF.
Clifford Craig Foundation ($67,782)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Roddam LF; Cooley MA; Ambrose M; Tristram SG

Research Supervision






PhDThe Potential Therapeutic Benefits of rhPON2 Against Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infections2013
PhDThe microbial ecology of transmission sites of Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease2014
PhDSecondary Metabolites from Tasmanian Plants2016


PhDPotential of Human PON2 as an Anti-Pseudomonal Therapy
Candidate: Naseem Mohammad Ali