Dr Deborah Holt

Senior research fellow, Global and Tropical Health Division; Business manager, Centre for Research Excellence in Respiratory Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children


PhD, University of Sydney, 2000; Bachelor of Applied Science, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, 1992; Graduate Diploma in Information Technology, University of Southern Queensland, 2009.

Approved level of HDR supervision at Charles Darwin University:

Principal Supervisor for PhD


Darwin - Royal Darwin Hospital campus


Deborah Holt is a molecular biologist with a particular interest in infectious diseases. Having begun her career in malaria research, she has worked on scabies for the past 10 years, focusing on molecular aspects of mite biology.

She is currently involved in collaborative projects aimed at scabies mite transcript analysis as well as working towards full genome sequencing. Deborah has other research interests involving parasites and skin pathogens of significance to Indigenous people in the Top End, including genomic analysis of a novel type of Staphylococcus aureus, first identified as causing skin infections in remote Indigenous communities.

  1. Holt, D.C., Burgess, S.T., Reynolds, S.L., Mahmood, W., & Fischer, K. (2013). Intestinal proteases of free-living and parasitic astigmatid mites. Cell and Tissue Research, 351(2), 339-352.
  2. Holt, D.C., & Fischer, K. (2013). Novel insights into an old disease: recent developments in scabies mite biology. [Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, 26(2), 110-115.
  3. Fischer, K., Holt, D., Currie, B., & Kemp, D. (2012). Scabies: important clinical consequences explained by new molecular studies. Advances in Parasitology, 79, 339-373.
  4. Holt, D.C., Holden, M.T., Tong, S.Y., Castillo-Ramirez, S., Clarke, L., Quail, M.A., et al. (2011). A very early-branching Staphylococcus aureus lineage lacking the carotenoid pigment staphyloxanthin. Genome Biology and Evolution, 3, 881-895.
  5. Dougall, A. M., Alexander, B., Holt, D. C., Harris, T., Sultan, A. H., Bates, P. A., et al. (2011). Evidence incriminating midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) as potential vectors of Leishmania in Australia. International Journal for Parasitology, 41(5), 571-579.
  6. Lilliebridge, R. A., Tong, S. Y., Giffard, P. M., & Holt, D. C. (2011). The utility of high-resolution melting analysis of SNP nucleated PCR amplicons-An MLST based Staphylococcus aureus typing scheme. PLoS One, 6(6), e19749.
  7. Holt, D.C., McCarthy, J.S., & Carapetis, J.R. (2010). Parasitic diseases of remote Indigenous communities in Australia. International Journal for Parasitology, 40(10), 1119-1126.
  8. Holt, D.C., Fischer, K., Pizzutto, S.J., Currie, B.J., Walton, S.F., & Kemp, D.J. (2004). A multigene family of inactivated cysteine proteases in Sarcoptes scabiei. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 123(1), 240-241.
  9. Holt, D.C., Fischer, K., Allen, G.E., Wilson, D., Wilson, P., Slade, R., et al. (2003). Mechanisms for a novel immune evasion strategy in the scabies mite Sarcoptes scabiei: a multigene family of inactivated serine proteases. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 121(6), 1419-1424.
  10. Fischer, K., Holt, D.C., Harumal, P., Currie, B.J., Walton, S.F., & Kemp, D.J. (2003). Generation and characterization of cDNA clones from Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis for an expressed sequence tag library: identification of homologues of house dust mite allergens. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 68(1), 61-64.
Click here to view more Deborah Holt publications in PubMed.
  1. Love affair with parasites

    Love affair with parasites


    From scabies to flesh-eating fire fish (okay we made that one up), Dr Deborah Holt knows, and loves, parasites. We find out why.

  2. Researchers discover a new silver species of Staphylococcus

    Researchers discover a new silver species of Staphylococcus


    Scientists from a pioneering Northern Territory-based research project have uncovered two new species of staphylococcus. One of the two has been officially registered as Staphylococcus argenteus, or more commonly Silver Staph.

  3. ‘Golden staph’ three species, not one

    ‘Golden staph’ three species, not one


    'Stories of Australian Science' magazine