Professor Margaret Deighton



School /
Work Unit

School of Science

Contact Details

+61 3 9925 7123


Building: 223
Level: 01
Room: 30A

Bundoora West campus


Science, Engineering and Health

"Margaret Deighton"


  • B. Sc. (University of Melbourne)
  • M.Sc. (University of Melbourne)
  • Diploma of education (tertiary teaching) (Monash University)
  • Ph.D (RMIT University)

Key Activities

Administration: Leader of the microbiology group, School of Applied Sciences, coordination of courses in medical microbiology.

Teaching duties: medical microbiology courses for students in Applied Sciences, Medical Sciences, Nursing.

Research leadership: Planning research and supervising student projects in the areas of coagulase-negative staphylococcal infections, bovine mastitis, pathogens in sewage sludge.

Professional interests / links to industry / additional information

  • Fellow of the Australian Society for Microbiology (FASM)
  • Member of the American Society for Microbiology
  • Registrar, National Examinations Board, Australian Society for Microbiology.


My major current research activity, funded by the Smart Water Fund, aims to provide data to regulatory authorities on the microbial safety of biosolids at different stages of sewage treatment. Current Victorian guidelines for unrestricted use of biosolids to agricultural land require stockpiling for at least three years following drying. Prolonged storage, however, results in loss of valuable nutrients. If microbiological safety can be demonstrated earlier in the treatment process, this valuable resource would be able to be recycled and used beneficially. My group works closely with water companies, the Environment Protection Agency and the Department of Human Services.

A long-term interest of mine is the pathogenesis of coagulase-negative staphylococcal infections. These normally harmless skin bacteria are able to grow as biofilms on catheters and other inserted medical devices, where they resist removal by the patient’s own defences and by antibiotics. We are currently investigating mechanisms of antibiotic resistance of biofilm-grown coagulase-negative staphylococci from very low birth weight infants and other vulnerable patients. One recent publication has the designation, highly accessed. Articles that have been highly accessed on line prior to print have this designation permanently on the journal Table of Contents and on search results.

Another related interest is mastitis in dairy cattle caused by the environmental organism, Streptococcus uberis. This disease causes loss of milk production, with serious economic impact on the dairy industry worldwide. We have provided data suggesting that certain molecular types of S. uberis have an enhanced capacity to cause disease, while other types may appear in milk of cows without evidence of mastitis.

Currently I supervise five PhD students (two on biosolids projects, two on coagulase-negative staphylococcal infections and one on Streptococcus uberis mastitis), one honours student (viruses in biosolids) and three students (parasites in biosolids) doing minor theses as part of coursework masters programs.

Recent publications

10 recent publications in ERA listed journals

  • Bradford, R., R. Abdul Manan, S. Garland, A. Daley. M. Deighton. 2010. Coagulase-negative staphylococci in low birth weight infants: environmental factors affecting biofilm production in Staphylococcus epidermidis. Current Microbiology. Accepted July 2010.
  • Qu, Y., A. J. Daley , T. S. Istivan, D. A. Rouch and M. A. Deighton. 2010. Densely adherent growth mode, rather than extracellular polymer substance matrix build-up ability, contributes to high resistance of S. epidermidis biofilms to antibiotics. Letter to editor. J Antimicrob Chemother. Accepted July 2010.
  • Qu, Y., A. J. Daley, T. S. Istivan, S. M. Garland and M. A. Deighton. 2010. Antibiotic susceptibility of coagulase-negative staphylococci isolated from very low birth weight babies: comprehensive comparisons of bacteria at different stages of biofilm formation. Annals Clin. Microbiol. Antimicrob. 9:16-27..
  • Qu, Y., A. J. Daley , T. S. Istivan, D. A. Rouch and M. A. Deighton. 2010. Densely adherent growth mode, rather than extracellular polymer substance matrix build-up ability, contributes to high resistance of S. epidermidis biofilms to antibiotics. J Antimicrob Chemother. (Highly accessed article)
  • Kyi, S., N. Wongkattiy, A. C. Warden, M. S. O’Shea, M. Deighton, I. Macreadie and F. H. M. Graichen. 2010. Synthesis and activity of polyacetylene substituted 2-hydroxy acids, esters and amides against microbes of clinical importance. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chem. Lett. 20:4555-4557.
  • Runicman, D, Deighton, M. Malmo, J. 2010. The use of an internal teat sealant in combination with cloxacillin dry cow therapy for the prevention of clinical and subclinical mastitis in seasonal calving cows. J Dairy Science. Accepted June 2010.
  • Qu, Y., T. S. Istivan, A. J. Daley, D. A. Rouch, and M. A. Deighton. 2009. Comparison of various antimicrobial agents as catheter lock solutions: preference of ethanol in eradication of coagulase-negative staphylococcal biofilms. J. Med. Microbiol. 58: 442-450.
  • Reddy, M. M., M. Deighton, R. K. Gupta, S. N. Bhattacharya, R. Parthasarathy. 2009. Biodegradation of oxo-biodegradable polyethylene. J. Appl. Polymer Sci. 111: 1426-1432.
  • Reddy. M. M., M. Deighton, R. K. Gupta, S. N. Bhattacharya and R. Parthasarathy. 2009. Biodegradation of montmorillonite filled oxo-biodegradable polyethylene. J. Appl. Polymer Sci. 112: 2826-2832.
  • Tomita, T., B. Meehan, N. Wongkattiya, J. Malmo, G. Pullinger, J. Leigh, and M. Deighton. 2008. Identification of Streptococcus uberis multilocus sequence types highly associated with mastitis. Appl. Env. Microbiol. 74:114-124.
  • D’mello, D., A. J. Daley, M. S. Rahman, Y. Qu, S. Garland, C. Pearce, and M. A. Deighton. 2008. Vancomycin heteroresistance of Staphylococcus capitis bloodstream isolates. J. Clin. Microbiol. 46:3214-3216.