Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group

Participate in collaborative research with two of the world’s leading universities.

toronto with maple leaves

The Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group is a joint research initiative founded by the University of Melbourne and the University of Toronto. The group provides a platform for researchers and joint PhD candidates from both universities to work together on projects that address issues from a broad range of disciplines.

The joint PhD candidates of the Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group have the opportunity to collaborate closely on impactful research projects within a talented cohort. They are mentored by global experts, gain experience working in diverse cultures and research environments, and access resources and facilities at both universities.

Candidates can also participate in an equity training plan, which is designed to foster an open and inclusive community of learners. The training plan also offers post-project career development and continued equitable support of researchers’ lifelong goals.

Joining the training group has broadened my horizons by allowing me to immerse myself in two different cultures while working under three excellent supervisors.

Xingyi Wu
Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group joint PhD candidate

Project spotlight story: Discovery of invertebrate attractants and toxins from diverse Actinomycetes

Actinomycetes are a group of bacteria that produce an astounding array of small molecules, known as specialized metabolites. These molecules are used in the creation of antibiotics, antifungals, immunosuppressants and anticancer agents. Besides impacting us humans, the actinomycete bacteria also affect a variety of other organisms. One such group is the invertebrates, which include insects. The effect is varied – some invertebrates like the leaf-cutter ants have formed mutually beneficial relationships with the bacteria, whilst others like the parasitic worms have succumbed to the bacteria, which are toxic to them. Humans have used this knowledge to cure diseases such as river blindness, which is caused by the parasitic worm Onchocera volvulus. This project aims to further research the effects of actinomycetes on various insects.


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Actinomycete bacteria

University of Toronto

Our Partner: The University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is dedicated to the pursuit of research excellence, and is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world. Toronto is a multidisciplinary university with proud research traditions in science, engineering, social sciences, the humanities and health sciences. They are dedicated to fostering an academic community in which the learning and scholarship of every member may flourish, with vigilant protection for individual human rights, and a resolute commitment to the principles of equal opportunity, equity and justice.


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Meet our Academic Lead

Associate Professor Hayley Newton is a renowned microbiologist and the Academic Lead of the Toronto-Melbourne Research Training Group. Her primary research interest relates to intracellular bacterial pathogens. Associate Professor Newton developed pioneering techniques to genetically manipulate the bacterial pathogen Coxiella burnetiid, which demonstrated that the Dot/Icm type IV secretion system is an essential virulence determinant. These findings have led to a significant shift in our understanding of this mysterious intracellular pathogen. She currently holds a teaching position within the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and is also the Co-Theme leader for Host-Pathogen Interactions for the Doherty Institute.


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hayley newton

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