Examination of the oral microbiome in health and diseased states and the involvement of oral pathogens in chronic disease (periodontal disease, biomarkers of health and disease, chronic disease, Alzheimer's disease)
Catherine Butler has a background in microbiology and the molecular biology of bacteria. After initially working at the CSIRO Division of Animal Health on multivalent vaccines for cattle and sheep, she undertook her PhD through the University of Melbourne on the development of Mannheimia haemolytica, one of the causative agents of bovine shipping disease, as a live vaccine vector. This work identified iron regulated outer membrane proteins as immunogenic targets for expression from the vaccine vector. Her interest in bacterial iron regulation and the bacterial requirement for iron in order to cause disease in the mammalian host, took her from working on pathogenic bacteria affecting animals to those affecting humans. She has worked in the Melbourne Dental School for several years, during which her research focus has shifted from elucidation of iron transport and genetic control mechanisms within the oral pathobiont Porphyromonas gingivalis, a causative agent of periodontal disease, to elucidation of the oral microbiome in states of health and disease. Her current research interests also include the role that oral bacteria play in chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis. Her research into oral bacteria was recognised by the Australian and New Zealand division of the International Association of Dental Research with the Oral Biology Award in 2016.
Recipient of the F. A. Kernot Early to Mid-Career Research Grant 2019, for Identification of the fungal microbiota (mycobiome) associated with subgingival sites of non-resolving periodontitis and health.
Education and training
University of Melbourne 2001
University of Melbourne 1993
University of Melbourne 1989
Awards and honors
Oral Biology Award, International Association for Dental Research ANZ Division,