Dr Jessica Webb

Senior Researcher


PhD, Charles Darwin University, 2018; Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Infectious Diseases, Charles Darwin University, 2012; Bachelor of Science (Molecular biology, Microbiology and Genetics), Flinders University, 2011

Approved level of HDR supervision at Charles Darwin University:

Principle PhD supervisor


Darwin – Royal Darwin Hospital


Dr Jessica Webb is a Senior Researcher at Menzies School of Health Research and Charles Darwin University with a great passion and excitement for bacterial genetics and genomics.

Jess’s research focuses on using genomics, traditional microbiology techniques with patient epidemiology data to answer important questions on the pathogenic bacterium and biothreat agent Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis) and its nearest neighbours. Jess’s main areas of research include elucidating the evolution and phylogenetics of B. pseudomallei, source attribution of melioidosis, impact of B. pseudomallei genetic diversity on melioidosis patient outcomes and characterising antimicrobial resistance genetic mechanisms in B. pseudomallei for improved melioidosis therapy.

Jess is the curator of the B. pseudomallei Multilocus Sequence Typing database, the largest repository of B. pseudomallei sequence data in the world and her research interests also extend to the development of novel B. pseudomallei typing schemes (based on the bacterial core genome) to improve melioidosis outbreak/source attribution investigations and surveillance.

The title of Jess's PhD was: Using genomics to unravel antibiotic resistance mechanisms in Burkholderia pseudomallei.

  • Identification and characterization of novel antimicrobial resistance and susceptibility markers in Burkholderia pseudomallei and near-neighbours
  • Molecular and genomic tools for the detection of antibiotic resistance in B. pseudomallei
  • Genomics to inform interchangeability of antibiotics for melioidosis patients with an antibiotic resistant strain
  • Development of a high resolution genotyping scheme for B. pseudomallei using the core genome to aid in accurate melioidosis source attribution
  • Impact of B. pseudomallei genetic variability on melioidosis patient outcomes
  • Genomic, evolution and phylogenetic analysis of B. pseudomallei from Australia and the globe
  • Melioidosis: More than skin deep
  • Darwin Prospective Melioidosis Study (D.P.M.S)
  1. Jessica Webb: 2016 Barbara Hale Fellowship Winner

    Jessica Webb: 2016 Barbara Hale Fellowship Winner


    Working with tropical infectious diseases may not be everyone’s dream job, but for South Australian researcher, Jessica Webb, she is dedicated to pursuing her interest in this field.

  1. Somprasong N, Hall CM, Webb JR, et al. Burkholderia ubonensis Meropenem Resistance: Insights into Distinct Properties of Class A beta-Lactamases in Burkholderia cepacia Complex and Burkholderia pseudomallei Complex Bacteria. mBio. 2020 11.
  2. Amiss AS, Webb JR, Mayo M, et al. Safer in vitro drug screening models for melioidosis therapy development. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. 2020.
  3. Madden DE, Webb JR, Steinig EJ, et al. Taking the next-gen step: comprehensive antibiotic resistance detection from Burkholderia pseudomallei genomes. bioRxiv. 2019
  4. Rachlin A, Mayo M, Webb JR, et al. Whole-genome sequencing of Burkholderia pseudomallei from an urban melioidosis hot spot reveals a fine-scale population structure and localised spatial clustering in the environment. Sci Rep. 2020 10:5443.*
  5. Webb JR, Rachlin A, Rigas V, et al. Tracing the environmental footprint of the Burkholderia pseudomallei lipopolysaccharide genotypes in the tropical "Top End" of the Northern Territory, Australia. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2019 13:e0007369.*
  6. Webb JR, Sarovich DS, Price EP, et al. Burkholderia pseudomallei Lipopolysaccharide Genotype Does Not Correlate With Severity or Outcome in Melioidosis: Host Risk Factors Remain the Critical Determinant. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2019 6:ofz091.*
  7. Webb JR, Price EP, Somprasong N, et al. Development and validation of a triplex quantitative real-time PCR assay to detect efflux pump-mediated antibiotic resistance in Burkholderia pseudomallei. Future Microbiol. 2018 13:1403-1418.*
  8. Sarovich DS, Webb JR, Pitman MC, et al. Raising the Stakes: Loss of Efflux Pump Regulation Decreases Meropenem Susceptibility in Burkholderia pseudomallei. Clin Infect Dis. 2018 67:243-250.*
  9. Webb JR, Price EP, Currie BJ, Sarovich DS. Loss of Methyltransferase Function and Increased Efflux Activity Leads to Doxycycline Resistance in Burkholderia pseudomallei. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2017 61.*
  10. Price EP, Sarovich DS, Webb JR, et al. Phylogeographic, genomic, and meropenem susceptibility analysis of Burkholderia ubonensis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017 11:e0005928.