ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology

A flourishing Tall Poppy

12, Jul 2022

A flourishing Tall Poppy

Dr Amy Cain from the Centre’s Macquarie node has won a prestigious NSW Tall Poppy Award in recognition of her science and outreach work.

An initiative of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science, the Tall Poppies recognise excellence in research and enthusiasm for communicating science beyond the walls of the laboratory.

Dr Cain’s research bridges the gap between finding promising novel antibiotic targets and developing much-needed antibiotic compounds suitable for human use.

Her research team at Macquarie University (3 postdocs, 2 PhD and 2 masters; uses functional genomic techniques, such as RNA-sequencing and transposon insertion sequencing, to build genetic networks during antibiotic exposure in highly-resistant hospital-acquired bacterial pathogens and ultimately uncover new antibiotic targets.

She is also recognised for her work as Director of JAMS  ( over the past three years.  Under her leadership, JAMS has hosted regular publicly held microbiology seminars and conferences across Australia and Southeast Asia.

She led the production and co-hosted (with Dr Lucie Semenec at Macquarie) the JAMSpod podcast, Getting to know your friendly neighbourhood microbiologist, which casually introduces local microbiologists to a general audience ( and another series on World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020.

JAMSpod has now educated many people across the globe on various microbiology topics, with more than 1000 downloads recorded across five continents.

Dr Yu Keng Lau from the Sydney node was a Tall Poppy winner in 2021.