Mirjam Kaestli

Senior research officer


PhD (Molecular Parasitology), Swiss Tropical Institute, University of Basel, 2005; Master of Science (Biostatistics), University of Sydney (Biostatistics Collaboration of Australia ), 2015; Master of Science (Molecular Microbiology), University of Basel, Switzerland, 2000

Approved level of HDR supervision at Charles Darwin University:

Associate Supervisor for PhD


Darwin - Royal Darwin Hospital campus


Mirjam’s research focuses on the impact of anthropogenic manipulations such as earthworks, gardening, animal husbandry or water bores upon the habitat of the melioidosis agent, Burkholderia pseudomallei, in the environment of Northern Australia.

Her recent research has shown that B. pseudomallei colonises roots and aerial parts of exotic grasses introduced to Australia as pasture grass. These grasses are currently spreading as weeds across the Top End with the potential to increase the spread of B. pseudomallei.

Mirjam completed her PhD in malaria research at the University of Basel, Switzerland and the Institute of Medical Research, Papua New Guinea analysing the differential expression of a Plasmodium falciparum virulence factor in children with asymptomatic and severe malaria.

Research Themes
  1. Kaestli, M., Grist, E.P., Ward, L., Hill, A., Mayo, M., & Currie, B.J. (2016). The association of melioidosis with climatic factors in Darwin, Australia: A 23-year time-series analysis. Journal of Infection. 10.1016/j.jinf.2016.02.015.
  2. Kaestli, M., Harrington, G., Mayo, M., Chatfield, M. D., Harrington, I., Hill, A., et al. (2015). What Drives the Occurrence of the Melioidosis Bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei in Domestic Gardens. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 9(3), e0003635-e0003635. 
  3. McRobb, E., Kaestli, M., Price, E. P., Sarovich, D.S., Mayo, M., Warner, J., Spratt, B. G., & Currie, B. J. (2014). Distribution of Burkholderia pseudomallei in northern Australia, a land of diversity. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 80, 3463-3468.
  4. Podin, Y., Kaestli, M., McMahon, N., Hennessy, J., Ngian, H. U., Wong, J. S., et al. (2013). Reliability of automated biochemical identification of Burkholderia pseudomallei is regionally dependent. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 51, 3076-3078.
  5. Kaestli, M., Schmid, M., Mayo, M., Rothballer, M., Harrington, G., Richardson, L., et al. (2012). Out of the ground: aerial and exotic habitats of the melioidosis bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei in grasses in Australia. Environmental Microbiology, 14(8), 2058-2070.
  6. Kaestli, M., & Warner, J. (2012). The influence of anthropogenic environmental changes upon Burkholderia pseudomallei.  In N. Ketheesan (Ed.), Melioidosis: A century of observation and research chapter, (pp.371-376). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  7. Kaestli, M., Richardson, L.J., Colman, R.E., Tuanyok, A., Price, E.P., Bowers, J.R., et al. (2012). Comparison of TaqMan PCR assays for detection of the melioidosis agent Burkholderia pseudomallei in clinical specimens. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 50(6), 2059-2062.
  8. Draper, A.D.K., Mayo, M., Harrington, G., Yinfoo, D., Currie, B., & Kaestli, M. (2010). Association of the melioidosis agent Burkholderia pseudomallei with water parameters in rural water supplies in northern Australia. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 76(15), 5305-5307.
  9. Kaestli, M., Mayo, M., Harrington, G., Ward, L., Watt, F., Hill, J.V., et al. (2009). Landscape changes influence the occurrence of the melioidosis bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei in soil in northern Australia. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 3(1), e364.
  10. Kaestli, M., Mayo, M., Harrington, G., Ward, F., Hill, J., Gal, D., et al. (2007). Sensitive and specific molecular detection of Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, in the soil of tropical northern Australia. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 73(21), 6891-6897.
Click here to view more Mirjam Kaestli publications in PubMed.
  1. ABC Catalyst: Melioidosis feature

    ABC Catalyst: Melioidosis feature


    Life in northern Australia is full of spectacular surprises and natural hazards, some more obvious than others.

  2. A global picture of melioidosis

    A global picture of melioidosis


    The bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei is found in soil and water and causes the disease melioidosis in humans and animals. It was upgraded to a Tier 1 Select Agent by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012 ó the designation given to pathogens considered of highest risk.