Dr Tegan Harris

Senior research officer


PhD, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, 2014; Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours), Queensland University of Technology, 2006


Darwin - Royal Darwin Hospital campus


Tegan is a molecular microbiologist by trade. Her research focuses on the application of genetics and genomics as research tools for better understanding bacterial infectious diseases, primarily those which affect humans. Tegan has worked on a number of microbial pathogens including:

  • Klebsiella pneumoniae - extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-mediated antibiotic resistance
  • Staphylococcus aureus - genomics to describe the epidemiology of carriage and infection, virulence, and antimicrobial resistance studies
  • Streptococcus pyogenes - epidemiology of invasive disease, determining transmission dynamics using genomic data
  • Strongyloides stercoralis - Ivermectin MDA
  • Leishmania spp. - Australian vector discovery

Tegan’s current research is focused around the respiratory pathogens non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) and Streptococcus pneumoniae. These bacteria can also colonise the nasopharynx in the absence of respiratory infection (asymptomatic carriage). Tegan endeavours to determine if NTHi and S. pneumoniae from the lungs of children with respiratory disease are genetically distinct from NTHi and S. pneumoniae in the nasopharynx of these same children, and from asymptomatic carriers using genomic and bioinformatic analyses. Additionally, she will determine the prevalence of antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity determinants in these populations.

  1. Holt, D.C., Shield, J., Harris, T.M., Mounsey, K.E., Aland, K., McCarthy, J.S., Currie, B.J., Kearns, T.M. (2017) Soil-Transmitted Helminths in Children in a Remote Aboriginal Community in the Northern Territory: Hookworm is Rare but Strongyloides stercoralis and Trichuris trichiura Persist. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2, 51.
  2. Price, E.P., Harris, T.M., Spargo, J.C., Nosworthy, E., Beissbarth, J., Chang, A.B., Smith-Vaughan, H.C., Sarovich, D.S. (2017). Simultaneous identification of Haemophilus influenzae and Haemophilus haemolyticus using real-time PCR. Future Microbiology. In Press
  3. Harris, T.M., Rumaseb, A., Beissbarth, J., Barzi, F., Leach, A.J., Smith-Vaughan, H.C. (2017). Culture of non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae from the nasopharynx: Not all media are equal. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 137, 3-5
  4. Bowen A.C., Harris T., Holt D.C., Giffard P.M., Carapetis J.R., Campbell P.T., McVernon J. & Tong S.Y.C. (2016). Whole genome sequencing reveals extensive community-level transmission of group A Streptococcus in remote communities. Epidemiology and Infection, available on CJO2016. doi:10.1017/S095026881500326X.
  5. Boyd, R., Patel, M., Currie, B.J., Holt, D.C., Harris, T., & Krause, V. (2015). High burden of invasive group A streptococcal disease in the Northern Territory of Australia. Epidemiology and Infection, 14, 1-10
  6. Roberts J., Evans K., Nguyen O., Harris T., Chirgwin S. & Bannister K. (2013). Divorce: A brief review of the impact and interventions in Australia. Menzies School of Health Research
  7. Dougall, A.M., Alexander, B., Holt, D.C., Harris, T., Sultan, A.H., Bates, P.A., Rose, K., & Walton, S.F. (2011). Evidence incriminating midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) as potential vectors of Leishmania in Australia. International Journal for Parasitology, 41, 571-9
  8. Turner, M.S., Andersson, P., Bell, J.M., Harris, T., & Giffard, P.M. (2009). Plasmid-borne blaSHV genes in Klebsiella pneumoniae are associated with strong promoters. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 64, 960-4
  9. Andersson, P., Harris, T., Tong, S.Y., & Giffard, P.M. (2009). Analysis of blaSHV codon 238 and 240 allele mixtures using Sybr green high-resolution melting analysis. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 53, 2679-83
  10. Hammond, D.S., Harris, T., Bell, J., Turnidge, J., & Giffard, P.M. (2008). Selection of SHV extended-spectrum β-lactamase-dependent cefotaxime and ceftazidime resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae requires a plasmid-borne blaSHV gene. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 52, 441-5
Click here to view more Tegan Harris publications in PubMed.
  1. Pain free golden staph treatment cleared for use in remote communities

    Pain free golden staph treatment cleared for use in remote communities


    A northern Australian research team has provided reassuring support for the continued use of an oral treatment option for patients with skin infections, finding that there has been inaccurate reporting of resistance to the recommended antibiotic.

  2. Beating superbugs a matter of choosing the right biological weapon.

    Beating superbugs a matter of choosing the right biological weapon.


    As part of the CSIRO's Pint of Science — a program aiming to make science appeal to the masses — Menzies School of Health Research scientist Dr Tegan Harris and Charles Darwin University scientist Dr Martin Boland are set to explain how science can both create and kill off superbugs.

  3. Science to win ahead of zombies

    Science to win ahead of zombies


    NT News features Dr Tegan Harris to promote Pint of Science Event