Staff Profile Skip to main content
Staff Profile

Dr Joshua Ramsay

No Image Found

Faculty of Health Sciences
School of Biomedical Sciences
Bentley Campus
08 9266 1152

Brief Summary

Dr Ramsay a current Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow with wide-ranging interests in bacterial gene regulation and evolution. An overarching theme to his research is the evolution of bacteria through horizontal gene transfer and the biology of the mobile genetic elements that facilitate horizontal transfer. Dr Ramsay carried out his PhD in 2004-2008 at the University of Otago with Prof. Clive Ronson. He was then a Herchel Smith Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cambridge in Prof. George Salmond's lab from 2008-2011. He then carried out a Health Sciences Career Development Fellowship at the University of Otago in 2011 before taking up his current position as lecturer in Molecular Microbiology at Curtin University in 2013. Dr Ramsay is now continuing his work as an ARC Future Fellow on mobile genetic elements and quorum sensing in rhizobial bacteria, in addition to investigating the transfer of antibiotic-resistance elements in Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).


Back to top

Memberships, Awards and Training

Awards/Fellowships/Research grants

2017 ARC Future Fellowship  "Harnessing horizontal gene transfer for sustainable nitrogen fixation" ($780,000)
2017 Royal Society of New Zealand, Marsden Fund. "Silencing unwanted expression in molecular circuits using naturally evolved solutions" ($750,000 NZD) Associate Investigator.
2017 ARC Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities "From powders to proteins: Improving diffraction science in Western Australia" ($700,000) Chief Investigator (#11)
2016 Curtin Faculty of Health Sciences Publication Awards - Medical Microbiology category ($250) PNAS 2016
2016 Curtin Faculty of Health Sciences Publication Awards - Highest Impact Factor category ($400) Nature SMB 2016
2016 Australian Society for Antimicrobials (ASA) Antimicrobials 2016 Travel Award
2015 Curtin Faculty of Health Sciences Publication Awards - Highest Impact Factor category ($400)  PNAS 2015
2015 Curtin Faculty of Health Sciences Publication Awards - Highest Impact Factor category ($400)  NAR 2015
2015 The Biomedical Sciences Research Strategy Fund (RSF). Curtin University. "Detection of antimicrobial-resistance gene transfer in a 2-year longitudinal study of chronic Staphylococcus aureus carriage in 101 Australian households" ($42,027)
2015 Australian Society for Antimicrobials (ASA)Antimicrobials 2015 Travel Award ($1,975 AUD)
2014 School of Biomedical Sciences Consumables Funding Grant Curtin University($10,000 AUD)
2014 Australian Society for Antimicrobials (ASA) ISSSI 2014 Travel Scholarship ($5,000 AUD)
2012 University of Otago Research Grant (Associate investigator) ($30,504 NZD)
2012 Dean's Bequest, Otago School of Medical Sciences (OSMS) ($17,000 NZD)
2011 Health Sciences Career Development Fellowship, University of Otago
2009 Scientific Meeting Travel Grant, Society for General Microbiology (£500 GBP)
2008 Herchel Smith Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, University of Cambridge (incl. £30, 000 GBP Research Funding.).
2008 PhD formally recognized as exceptional (Top 10%), University of Otago
2007 Elman Poole Travelling Fellowship, University of Otago, ($22,000NZD)
2006 Best Paper from an Emerging Researcher, OSMS, University of Otago ($1,000 NZD)
2004 University of Otago Postgraduate Scholarship
2003 Child Cancer Foundation Summer Research Scholarship
2002 University of Otago Scholarship in Science
2002 Otago School of Medical Sciences Research Scholarship


2013 Executive of the Australian Collaborating Centre for Enterococcus and Staphylococcus Species (ACCESS)  Typing and Research Executive Research Committee
2013 The Australian Society for Antimicrobials (ASA)
2013 The Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM)
2009 Society for Applied Microbiology (SFAM) UK
2008 Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge UK
2008 Society for General Microbiology (SGM) UK
2005 American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
2005 New Zealand Microbiological Society

Back to top

Employment History


ARC Future Fellow
School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Australia

Lecturer in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Australia

Adjunct Lecturer
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Western Australia, Australia

Health Sciences Division Career Development Fellow
Prof. Clive W. Ronson's Group, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, New Zealand.

Herchel Smith Postdoctoral Fellow
Prof. George P. C. Salmond's Group, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, UK.

Back to top

Research Fields

    Biological Sciences

  • Microbial Genetics
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences

  • Crop and Pasture Production not elsewhere classified
  • Medical and Health Sciences

  • Medical Microbiology not elsewhere classified
Back to top



Journal Articles (Research)

  • Khaleque, H. N., J. P. Ramsay, R. J. T. Murphy, A. H. Kaksonen, N. J. Boxall, and E. L. J. Watkin. 2017. "Draft genome sequence of Acidihalobacter ferrooxidans DSM 14175 (strain V8), a new ironand sulfur-oxidizing, halotolerant, acidophilic species." Genome Announcements 5 (21)


Journal Articles (Research)

Back to top

keyboard_arrow_downAdditional publication categories


Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

  • Haskett, T. L., J. P. Ramsay, A. A. Bekuma, J. T. Sullivan, G. W. O'Hara, and J. J. Terpolilli. 2017. "Evolutionary persistence of tripartite integrative and conjugative elements." Plasmid 92: 30-36.
Back to top

Additional Information


Selected Journal Articles

Haskett TL, Ramsay JP, Bekuma AA, Sullivan JT, O'Hara GW, Terpolilli JJ. Evolutionary persistence of tripartite integrative and conjugative elements. Plasmid (2017) 29;92:30-36

Ramsay JP  & Firth Diverse mobilization strategies facilitate transfer of non-conjugative mobile genetic elements Current Opinion in Microbiology (2017) 6;38:1-9

Haskett TL, Terpolilli JJ, Bekuma A, O’Hara GW, Sullivan JT, Wang P, Ronson CW, & Ramsay JP Assembly and transfer of tripartite integrative and conjugative genetic elements Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (2016) 113(43):12268-12273

Ramsay JP Replicating Methicillin Resistance? Nature Structural and Molecular Biology (2016) 23, 874–875

Ramsay JP, Kwon SM, Murphy JT, Yui Eto K, Price KJ, Nguyen QT, O'Brien F, Grubb WB, Coombs G & Firth N An updated view of plasmid conjugation and mobilisation in Staphylococcus. Mobile Genetic Elements (2016) 6(4): e1208317

Ulluwishewa D, Wang L, Pereira C, Flynn S, Cain E, Stick S, Reen FJ, Ramsay JP, O'Gara F Dissecting the regulation of bile-induced biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus. Microbiology (2016) 162(8) - Editors Choice August 2016

Tashiro Y,Monson RE, Ramsay JP, Salmond GPC. Molecular genetic and physical analysis of gas vesicles in buoyant enterobacteria Environmental Microbiology (2016) 18(4):1264-76

Pollet RM, Ingle JD, Hymes JP, Eakes TC, Yui Eto K, Kwong SM, Ramsay JP, Firth N, Redinbo MR. Processing of Non-Conjugative Resistance Plasmids by Conjugation Nicking Enzyme of Staphylococci. Journal of Bacteriology. (2016) 198(6):888-97

Monson RM, Smith DS, Matilla MA, Roberts KJ, Richardson E, Drew A, Williamson NR, Ramsay JP, Welch M and Salmond GPC. A plasmid-transposon hybrid mutagenesis system effective in a broad range of Enterobacteria Frontiers in Microbiology (2015) 6:1442

Ramsay JP & Ronson CW. Silencing quorum sensing and ICE mobility through antiactivation and ribosomal frameshifting Mobile Genetic Elements (2015)  5(6): 103–108.

O'Brien F, Yui Eto K, Murphy RJT, Fairhurst H, Coombs G, Grubb WB, Ramsay JP. Origin-of-transfer sequences facilitate mobilisation of non-conjugative antimicrobial-resistance plasmids in Staphylococcus aureus Nucleic Acids Research (2015).  43(16): 7971–7983

Ramsay JP, Tester LGL, Major AS, Sullivan JT, Edgar CD, Kleffmann K, Patterson-House JR, Hall DA, Tate WP, Hynes MF and Ronson CW. Ribosomal frameshifting and dual-target antiactivation restrict quorum-sensing-activated transfer of a mobile genetic element Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (2015) 112(13):4104-9

O'Brien F, Ramsay JP, Coomb G, Monecke S, Robinson J, Htet Z, Alshaikh F, Grubb WB. Staphylococcus aureus plasmids without mobilisation genes are mobilised by a novel conjugative plasmid from community isolates Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (2015) 70(3):649-652

Tan H, West JA, Ramsay JP, Monson RE, Griffin JL, Toth IK, Salmond GP. Comprehensive overexpression analysis of cyclic-di-GMP signalling proteins in the phytopathogen Pectobacterium atrosepticum reveals diverse effects on motility and virulence phenotypes. Microbiology (2014) 160(Pt 7):1427-39

Wilf NM, Reid AJ, Ramsay JP, Williamson NR, Croucher NJ, Gatto L, Hester SS, Goulding D, Barquist L, Lilley KS, Kingsley RA, Dougan G, Salmond GP. RNA-seq reveals the RNA binding proteins, Hfq and RsmA, play various roles in virulence, antibiotic production and genomic flux in Serratia sp. ATCC 39006. BMC Genomics (2013) 14, 822

Ramsay JP, Major AS, Komarovsky VM, Sullivan JT, Dy RL, Hynes MF, Salmond GP, Ronson CW. A widely conserved molecular switch controls quorum sensing and symbiosis island transfer in Mesorhizobium loti through expression of a novel antiactivator. Molecular Microbiology  (2013) 87,1-13. 

Ramsay JP, Salmond GP. Quorum sensing-controlled buoyancy through gas vesicles: Intracellular bacterial microcompartments for environmental adaptation. Communicative and Integrative Biology (2012) 5, 96-98

Ramsay JP, Williamson NR, Spring DR, Salmond GP  A quorum sensing molecule acts as a morphogen controlling gas vesicle organelle biogenesis and adaptive flotation in an enterobacterium.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (2011) 108,14932-14937

Wilf NM, Williamson NR, Ramsay JP, Poulter S, Bandyra KJ, Salmond GP. The RNA chaperone, Hfq, controls two luxR-type regulators and plays a key role in pathogenesis and production of antibiotics in Serratia sp. ATCC 39006. Environmental Microbiology (2011)13, 2649-2666

Ramsay JP, Sullivan JT, Jambari N, Ortori CA, Heeb S, Williams P, Barrett DA, Lamont IL, Ronson CW.  A LuxRI-family regulatory system controls excision and transfer of the Mesorhizobium loti strain R7A symbiosis island by activating expression of two conserved hypothetical genes. Molecular Microbiology (2009) 73, 1141-55.

Ramsay JP, Sullivan JT, Stuart GS, Lamont IL, Ronson CW.  Excision and transfer of the Mesorhizobium loti R7A symbiosis island requires an integrase IntS, a novel recombination directionality factor RdfS, and a putative relaxase RlxS. Molecular Microbiology (2006) 62, 723-34.

Glaser RL, Ramsay JP, Morison IM. The imprinted gene and parent-of-origin effect database now includes parental origin of de novo mutations. Nucleic Acids Research (2006) 34, 29-31.

Morison IM, Ramsay JP, Spencer HG. A census of mammalian imprinting. Trends in Genetics (2005) 21, 457-65.

Book chapters / protocols

Ramsay JP, Hynes MF, Sullivan JT, Ronson CW. Symbiosis Islands Reference Module in Life Sciences, Elsevier (2017)

Ramsay JP and Ronson CW. Genetic Regulation of Symbiosis Island Transfer in Mesorhizobium loti.  Biological Nitrogen Fixation(2015) DOI: 10.1002/9781119053095.ch21

Ramsay JP High-throughput β-galactosidase and β-glucuronidase Assays Using Fluorogenic Substrates. (2013)

Ronson CW, Hynes MF, Ramsay JP, and Sullivan JT Symbiosis Islands Encyclopedia of Genetics, 2nd edition (2013) Pages 598–600. 

Back to top