Barr Lab


I am always looking for new and exciting ways to present and share my research and knowledge about bacteriophage – the viruses of bacteria. If you have any exciting and collaborative ideas, please contact me.

Discovered in WWI, bacterial viruses may be our allies in a post-antibiotic age | The Conversation

Artilce in The Conversation

Written by Gregory Crocetti and Jeremy J. Barr

As we again reflect on the sacrifices our Anzac soldiers, nurses and doctors made during the first world war, another centenary goes by unnoticed by most Australians.

It celebrates a scientific discovery made behind the Western Front, one that might soon affect the health and life of many Australians. Bacteriophages (viruses that attack bacteria) – described by Felix d'Herelle in 1917 – may now be the answer to a world where antibiotics are losing effectiveness.

So when remembering our troops, doctors and nurses this Anzac Day, consider also tipping your hat or your glass to the vital role bacteriophages play in our world. One day our health might just depend on them.

Novel phage therapy saves patient with multidrug-resistant bacterial infection

A recent EurekAlert! aritlce out discussing a recent phage therapy case that The Barr lab was involved in.

Scientists and physicians at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, working with colleagues at the U.S. Navy Medical Research Center (NMRC), Texas A&M University, San Diego State University, a San Diego-based biotech and elsewhere, have successfully used an experimental therapy involving bacteriophages — viruses that target and consume specific strains of bacteria — to treat a patient near death from a multidrug-resistant bacterium.

 The bacteriophage cocktails used in this study were prepared by our lab using our previously published methodology; “Phage on tap–a quick and efficient protocol for the preparation of bacteriophage laboratory stocks” that was published in PeerJ.


The Invisible War | Small Friends Books

the invisible war artThe Invisible War: A Tale on Two Scales is an illustrated science-history story exploring parallel experiences during World War I on two different physical scales. On a macro level – the collective battle taking place between allied and enemy troops, on a micro level – a microbial fight for survival in dysentery-riddled trenches of the gut. The story will be fiction, but is based on scientific and historical facts.

The history of the microbial world during World War 1 was undoubtedly fascinating. During the human-scale battles that we know so much of, hidden beneath the trenches was a battle of a different kind. The servicemen and women’s own bodies served as micro-frontlines where microbes of all kinds waged war in a valiant attempt to save their human symbiont from infection and disease. The enormous number of Australians who suffered and died from dysentery during WW1 makes this an important story to be told.

 Our lab’s recent discoveries from the bacteriophage adherence to mucus (BAM) model demonstrate that there is an amazing symbiosis that takes place between us, and the bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) living inside our mucus. This research formed some of the scientific inspiration behind this story.

Going Viral | The Scientist Magazine

From therapeutics to gene transfer, bacteriophages offer a sustainable and powerful method of controlling microbes.

By Breeann Kirby and Jeremy J. Barr


As little more than carriers of DNA, bacteriophages serve to shuttle genes between diverse ecosystems. The viruses take up genetic material from their bacterial hosts and donate it to future hosts, both near and far. Such genetic movement can spread bacterial traits such as virulence, antibiotic resistance, or adhesion capability–and even introduce novel genes to new environments. While viruses can only move short distances outside of a host, the migration of bacteria, or of the megafauna that bacteria infect, allows phages to traverse the globe.

BAM | Press Coverage

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Monash University
School of Biological Sciences
Senior Zoology
Clayton VIC 3168

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