Martina Sanderson-Smith

Dr Martina Sanderson-Smith

PhD, UOW., Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours, Class 1) UOW

Lab Phone:         +61 2 4298 1287
Lab:                         B32.321
Office Phone:     +61 2 4298 1935
Office:                     B32.309


  • NHMRC Research Fellow (CDF)/Lecturer   

Research Interests

Infectious disease and bacterial pathogenesis. Research focuses on host-pathogen interactions, resistance to host innate immunity, the role of the plasminogen activation system in infectious disease, and identifying targets for therapeutic intervention. My research program encompasses aspects of microbiology, cell biology, immunology and molecular biology.

Representative Publications

Tsatsaronis JA, Hollands A, Cole JN, Maamary PG, Gillen CM, Zakour NL, Kotb M, Nizet V, Beatson SA, Walker MJ, Sanderson-Smith ML. Streptococcal collagen-like protein A and general stress protein 24 are immunomodulating virulence factors of group A Streptococcus. FASEB J. Mar 26 ( 2013 ).

Martina L. Sanderson-Smith, Yueling Zhang, Diane Ly, Deborah Donahue, Andrew Hollands, Victor Nizet, Marie Ranson, Victoria A. Ploplis, Mark J. Walker, Francis J. Castellino. A Key Role for the Urokinase Plasminogen Activator (uPA) in Invasive Group A Streptococcal Infection. PLOS Pathogens, (2013).

Diane Ly, Jude M. Taylor, James A. Tsatsaronis, Mercedes M. Monteleone, Amanda S. Skora, Cortny A. Donald, Tracy Maddocks, Victor Nizet, Nicholas P. West, Marie Ranson, Mark J. Walker , Jason D. McArthur, Martina L. Sanderson-Smith. Plasmin Acquisition by Group A Streptococcus Protects Against C3b-Mediated Neutrophil Killing. Journal of Innate Immunity (2013).

Sanderson-Smith ML, Dinkla K, Cole JN, Cork AJ, Maamary PG, McArthur JD, Chhatwal GS, Walker MJ. M protein mediated plasminogen binding is essential for the virulence of an invasive Streptococcus pyogenes isolate. FASEB J Aug, 22 (8): 2715-22 (2008).

McArthur JD, McKay FC, Ramachandran V, Shyam P, Cork AJ, Sanderson-Smith ML, Cole JN, Ringdahl U, Sjobring U, Ranson M, Walker MJ. Allelic variants of streptokinase from Streptococcus pyogenes display functional differences in plasminogen activation. FASEB J Sep, 22 (9): 3146-53 (2008).

Walker MJ, Hollands A, Sanderson-Smith ML, Cole JN, Kirk JK, Henningham A, McArthur JD, Dinkla K, Aziz RK, Kansal RG, Simpson AJ, Buchanan JT, Chhatwal GS, Kotb M, Nizet V. DNase-mediated resistance to neutrophil killing provides selection pressure for a genetic and phenotypic switch promoting invasive group A streptococcal infection. Nature Medicine 13 (8): 981-985 (2007).

Sanderson-Smith ML, Dowton M, Ranson M, Walker MJ. The plasminogen-binding group A streptococcal M protein-related protein Prp binds plasminogen via arginine and histidine residues. Journal of Bacteriology 189 (4): 1435-1440 (2007).

Cole JN, McArthur JD, McKay FC, Sanderson-Smith ML, Cork AJ, Ranson M, Rohde M, Itzek A, Sun H, Ginsburg D, Kotb M, Nizet V, Chhatwal GS, Walker MJ. Trigger for group A streptococcal M1T1 invasive disease. FASEB J 20: 1745-1747 (2006)

Sanderson-Smith ML, Walker MJ, Ranson M. The maintenance of high affinity plasminogen binding by group A streptococcal plasminogen-binding M-like protein is mediated by arginine and histidine residues within the a1 and a2 repeat domains. Journal of Biological Chemistry 281 (36): 25965-25971 (2006).

Sanderson-Smith ML, Batzloff M, Sriprakash KS, Dowton M, Ranson M, Walker MJ. Divergence in the plasminogen-binding group A streptococcal M protein family: Functional conservation of binding site and potential role for immune selection of variants. Journal of Biological Chemistry 281 (6): 3217-3226 (2006).

Searchable publication

Current Students

  • James Tstatsaronis (PhD) Systems biology analysis of an invasive group A streptococcal isolate from the Northern Territory of Australia
  • David De Oliveira (PhD) Interactions between group A streptococcal M protein and the host: new roles in virulence
  • Diane Ly (B Med Biotech Honours) The effect of cell surface plasmin on the immune response to group A streptococcus

Future Topics for Students

  • Characterisation of Group A Streptococcal plasminogen receptors
  • The role of bacterial plasmin acquisition in evasion of the innate immune response
  • Mechanisms of Group A Streptococcal neutrophil resistance

Abbreviated CV


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Research), School of Biological Sciences University of Wollongong
  • Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours, Class 1) University of Wollongong


  • 2011-2015  NHMRC Career Development Fellow, IHMRI,  University of Wollongong, Australia
  • 2010 - 2015 Visiting Scholar, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the W.M Keck Center for Transgene research, University of Notre Dame, USA
  • 2008-2010 Research Fellow/Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • 2007-2008  Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Germany
  • 2006-2007  Associate Research Fellow School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • 2002-2006 PhD, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong ‘Investigation of the role of the Plasminogen-binding group A streptococcal M-like protein (PAM) in the pathogenesis of Streptococcus pyogenes’

Awards and Competitive Funding

  • 2012 NHMRC Project Grant, "Evaluation of a vaccine to combat common streptococcal infections"
  • 2011   NHMRC Career Development Fellowship
  • 2010   NHMRC Project Grant, "The role of the Fibrinolytic System in invasive GAS disease"
  • 2007   Alexander von Humboldt Post-doctoral Fellowship 


Last reviewed: 4 March, 2016