Benjamin Liffner

Benjamin Liffner

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.


The structure and organisation of a eukaryotic cell dictates its functions. This leads to the tremendous diversity we see  in cellular architechtures across the eukaryotic tree of life. I study single-celled eukaryotic parasites including Plasmodium, the cause of malariaand Cryptosporidium a significant pathogen of humans and livestock. These parasites have specialised lifecycle stages for invading their host cells, called zoites. Zoites are highly structured and polarised, with their apical end containing all the organelles required for host cell invasion. For most of their lifecycle, however, these parasites are not highly organised and lack obvious cellular polarity. Through my research we aim to understand how these parasites create order from disorder. We use cutting-edge microscopy approaches to visualise parasites, observe how they build their highly organised zoite stages, and investigate what happens when we perturb key regulators of these processes. These insights are key for understanding basic parasite cell biology, and may unlock avenues for development of novel antiparasitc therapeutics.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2024 - ongoing Grant-Funded Research University of Adelaide
    2021 - 2024 Postdoctoral Fellow Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2023 Award Mentorship award Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology United States -
    2021 Award Most Outstanding Postdoctoral Researcher Indiana University School of Medicine United States -
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2017 The University of Adelaide Australia Doctor of Philosophy
    The University of Adelaide Australia BSc (Honours)
    The University of Adelaide Australia BSc (Biomedical Science)
  • Research Interests

2022 - 2024: American Heart Association, postdoctoral fellowship ($210,000)

2023: Indiana Clinical & Translational Sciencies Institute, postdoctoral challenge ($7,500)

2018 - 2020:  Commonwealth Scholarship ($14,500)

2018 - 2019 Hans Jürgen & Marianne Ohff Research Grant ($1892)

2018 - 2019  Australia-Germany Universities Australia-DAAD Joint Research Co-operation Scheme ($10,500)

  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2019 - 2021 Representative SA/NT Branch Australian Society for Microbiology Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2022 - 2024 Member Indiana University School of Medicine Postdoctoral Association Indiana University School of Medicine United States
    2021 - 2023 Member ACMCIP Trainee Team American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene United States
    2019 - 2021 Representative Faculty Board The University of Adelaide Australia

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