About

Lee is part of the One Health Research Group of senior and postdoctoral scientists and PhD students. Please see http://www.jcu.edu.au/cphmvs/public-health-tropical-medicine/JCU_107907.html  and https://www.facebook.com/onehealthresearchgroup for more information. 

The group is led by Dr Lee Skerratt and use methods from veterinary science, ecology, and biochemistry to investigate wildlife diseases that impact biodiversity, humans or livestock. We work closely with zoos, environment departments  and NGOs to develop improved wildlife management, in particular for frog conservation.  

Lee commenced her PhD in 1995,  with the aim of diagnosing the cause of the mysterious amphibian declines that were occurring in protected areas of Queensland.  She discovered chytridiomycosis, now recognised as the worst disease to impact biodiversity as it has caused hundreds of amphibian species to decline globally.  Since having 3 kids she has continued  research on this disease part time with her salary funded by an ARC postdoctoral fellowship and an ARC Future Fellowship.  This has  enabled further discoveries on pathogenesis, distribution, disease ecology, diagnosis,  conservation management  and immunity resulting in over 100 publications, 10,000 citations  and an H-index of 40.  During 2017 -2018 she was Associate Dean, Research for the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences.

Recent support for the group until 2016 has come from an ARC Discovery Project and an ARC Linkage with Taronga Zoo and NSW OEH. We are currently looking for funds to use proven methods from aquaculture to improve resistance in endangered frogs.

 

Interests
Research
  • Wildlife disease and its management, Amphibian pathology, Conservation
  • Amphibian chytridiomycosis, including pathogenesis, immunity, treatment, virulence, diagnosis and control
Experience
  • 2017 to 2018 - Associate Dean, Research, CPHMVS, JCU (Townsville)
  • 2011 to 2016 - ARC Future Fellow, JCU (Townsville)
  • 2004 to 2010 - ARC Aust Post Doc, JCU (Townsville)
  • 2002 to 2003 - Amphibian Pathologist, National Wildlife Health Centre (Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
  • 1994 to 1995 - Veterinarian, RSPCA (Melbourne)
Research Disciplines
Honours
Awards
  • 2016 - Tom Thorne and Beth Williams Memorial Award, awarded by the Wildlife Disease Association and the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians
  • 2009 - James Cook University Research Excellence Team Award to Wildlife Biosecurity Team
  • 2009 - Book dedication for contributions to research on amphibian decline : Amphibian Biology Vol 9. Amphibian Decline: diseases, parasites, maladies and pollution
  • 2007 - Ian Clunies Ross Award for academic veterinary achievement, from the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists
  • 2000 - CSIRO Medal for excellence in research, awarded to the Amphibian Disease Research Team
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters
  • Martel A, Pasmans F, Fisher M, Grogan L, Skerratt L and Berger L (2018) Chytridiomycosis. In: Emerging and Epidemic Fungal Infections in Animals. Springer, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 309-335
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 113+ research outputs authored by Dr Lee Berger from 1997 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Crowdfunding Experiment.com - Crowdfunding

Can we stop amphibian extinction by increasing immunity to the frog chytrid fungus?

Indicative Funding
$8,000
Summary
As a result of the arrival of the chytrid fungus in Australia, corroboree frog populations declined so now only a handful of individuals remain in the wild. Since the fungus cannot be eradicated, the immunity of frogs needs to be increased to enable survival and produce self-sustaining populations. We will work with captive breeding programs to identify immune genes associated with disease resistance, so frogs can be selectively bred to increase survival.
Investigators
Lee Berger, Tiffany Kosch and Lee Skerratt in collaboration with Alexandra Roberts and Richard Webb (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Pseudophryne corroboree; Corroboree frog; Chytridiomycosis; Immunity; Sequencing

QLD Department of Science, Information, Technology and Innovation - Advance Queensland Women's Academic Fund

New Methods To Protect Frogs From Chytridiomycosis

Indicative Funding
$13,000
Summary
Amphibians are under threat from the frog-killing fungus, which causes the fatal skin disease chytridiomycosis. My research investigates new methods to protect captive and wild frogs from chytridiomycosis, including testing new therapeutics and characterising virulence mechanisms of the pathogen. The Advance Queensland Women?s Academic Fund supports women in maintaining their research careers, and supports Queensland Organisations in promoting the achievements of Queensland?s female researchers. The funding can be used to employ a research assistant to continue research progress while on parental leave.
Investigators
Alexandra Roberts, Lee Berger and Richard Webb (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Chytrid Fungus; Amphibian Declines; Antifunal treatments; Molecular Biology
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Reducing Virulence of Fungal Pathogens using Genetics Tools (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Studies of Bellinger River Virus (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Development and Validation of a Model for Percutaneous Absorption in Frogs (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • A one health approach to investigate and improve health and conservation of snow leopards in Mongolia (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Investigation into the Population and Health Status of Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) on the Atherton Tablelands, QLD (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Pathology of ranavirus in eastern water dragons and survey of ranavirus and adenovirus in Australiain lizards (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Using Emerging Genetic Tools to Impart Disease Resistance on Amphibian Species at Risk of Extinction (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Controlling Chytridiomycosis: Characterizing immunosuppressants and mycoviruses from the frog-killing fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (PhD , Primary Advisor)
Completed
Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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Email
Phone
Location
  • 94.207, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences (Townsville campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Primary Advisor
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