Dr Jacqui Upcroft is a parasitologist who studied the genome organisation, drug resistance, biology, and epidemiology of Giardia, Trichomonas and Entamoeba.


Jacqui Upcroft

Fellow of the Australian Society for Parasitology

Jacqui Upcroft completed her undergraduate studies in the early 1970’s at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Sydney and subsequently went on to complete her PhD at the University of Sydney. Jacqui’s first post-doctoral position was at Harvard Medical School and second at the University of California, Los Angeles. The latter led to Jacqui developing her skills in genetic engineering. In 1980, Chev Kidson — the then Director of QIMR (now the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute) — recruited Jacqui to the Malaria laboratory. Working as a NHMRC Senior Research Officer, Jacqui was involved in the cloning and expression of malaria-parasite antigens in E. coli to facilitate their assessment as vaccine candidates. Several of her cloned libraries of malaria-parasite genes were produced and used for many years at QIMR. In the late 80s, Jacqui teamed up with the late Peter Boreham, and commenced their internationally-recognised studies investigating the genome organisation, drug resistance, biology, and epidemiology of Giardia. Subsequently, they extended their research to studies of Trichomonas and Entamoeba.

The team published a prolific number of papers on these three protozoan parasites, including joint authorship of the break-through draft genome sequence of T. vaginalis, which was published in Science in 2007. In their distinguished careers, their work has attracted substantial funding from: the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council, the NSW Milk Board, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Harvard University, University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Queensland.

Jacqui was renowned for their training and mentoring of technical staff, exceptionally gifted PhD students and post-docs. Jacqui is equally well known for  research networks: establishing major collaborations with scientists in the USA, Mexico, France, Thailand, Switzerland, PNG, Canada, Sri Lanka and the former Czech Republic.

Jacqui has always been generous in sharing her work with the national and international parasitology community. Presenting at many ASP meetings and  invited to speak at conferences in Australia and overseas. Jacqui organised a series of well-received Giardia/Entamoeba/Trichomonas meetings at QIMR, and in Prague and Sardinia. Jacqui was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship 2002 for travel in 2003 to establish collection of Trichomonas isolates for molecular analysis.

We acknowledge her huge contribution to parasitology and recognise Jacqui Upcroft is a worthy recipient of Fellowship of the Australian Society for Parasitology.