Lee is part of the One Health Research Group of senior and postdoctoral scientists and PhD students 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.


  • Wildlife disease and its management, Amphibian pathology, Conservation
  • Amphibian chytridiomycosis, including pathogenesis, immunity, treatment, virulence, diagnosis and control
  • 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
  • 2018 - Frank Fenner Life Scientist of the Year
  • 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

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 121+ 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.

Ecological Society of Australia - Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment

RNAi as a novel antifungal treatment for endangered frogs

Indicative Funding
$9,390 over 3 years
This project aims to develop a novel method to treat fungal diseases. RNA interference (RNAi) is a cutting edge technique in which small interfering RNA (siRNA) silences genes of interest. I aim to use siRNA to target virulence genes of the fungal disease `amphibian chytrid fungus? in the hope that this can be developed into therapeutic. This will be the first time RNAi has been manipulated in this fungi species, and also the first instance of using siRNA as an antifungal treatment for an animal.
Rebecca Webb, Alexandra Roberts, Lee Berger and Lee Skerratt (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
RNA interference; Health; Wildlife; Antifungal; Virulence; Biosecurity

Crowdfunding experiment.com - Crowdfunding

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

Indicative Funding
$8,000 over 3 years
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.
Lee Berger, Tiffany Kosch and Lee Skerratt in collaboration with Alexandra Roberts and Richard Webb (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Pseudophryne corroboree; Corroboree frog; Chytridiomycosis; Immunity; Sequencing

QLD Department of Environment and Science - Advance Queensland Women's Academic Fund

New Methods To Protect Frogs From Chytridiomycosis

Indicative Funding
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.
Alexandra Roberts, Lee Berger and Richard Webb (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Chytrid Fungus; Amphibian Declines; Antifunal treatments; Molecular Biology

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.

  • Studies of Bellinger River Virus (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Reducing Virulence of Fungal Pathogens using Genetics Tools (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit Research Data Australia.


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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