BAppSc.(Hons), Microbiology; Ph.D. Biotechnology, La Trobe University
Dr. Thomas is a molecular virologist whose research employs a number of approaches, including genetics, genomics, proteomics and electron microscopy, to study large bacterial viruses, referred to as “giant” phages. Dr. Thomas has conducted research on giant phages for more than 14 years and is particularly interested in understanding how they assemble their large virions and manipulate the bacterial cell during this process. There is much to be learned about giant phages as they encode many, sometimes hundreds, of genes that are not functionally characterized. Understanding how giant phages replicate is important in a broader context as there is great interest in employing phages as alternatives to antibiotics to treat multi-drug resistant bacteria. Her laboratory is currently supported by NIGMS.
Dr. Thomas joined the RIT faculty after postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Maryland Baltimore with Dr. Lindsay Black, and at the UT Health San Antonio with Dr. Stephen C. Hardies and Dr. Philip Serwer. She earned her Ph.D. from La Trobe University (Biotechnology) in 2006. Since joining the faculty in GSoLS Dr. Thomas has used her expertise to develop the courses Phage Biology and Microbial and Viral Genetics.