Primary research interest

Tuberculosis microbiology

About me

After completing my PhD, I began postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford, UK, working as a part of a European collaboration towards the development of a vaccine for the causative pathogen of serious bacterial dysentery. This work was later continued and completed at the Imperial College London. During this time, I spent significant time collaborating and working at the Institute Pasteur in Paris. In 2004 I returned to Australia as a postdoctoral scientist at the Centenary Institute in Sydney where I began researching TB. I moved to The University of Queensland as an NHMRC Research Fellow in mid-2012. I now hold a continuing academic position as Assoc. Professor in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.

Research focus and collaborations 

Lab: Tuberculosis Research

My laboratory is committed to understanding the mechanisms by which Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes Tuberculosis (TB). One in four people in the world are infected with this bacterium, resulting in approximately 4,000 deaths every day. My lab utilises modern molecular genomic technologies to identify the genetic requirements for M. tuberculosis to cause TB. This information is being translated into the development of new therapies and control measures for TB. Research within the group will fall largely into one of the following four themes: Essential Gene Identification in M. tuberculosis, Understanding TB LatencyTargeted TB Drug Development and Improving TB Vaccination.

National research collaborations

  • University of Sydney, School of Chemistry and Sydney Medical School
  • Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
  • Centenary Institute, Mycobacterial Research Laboratory
  • Australian National University

International collaborations

  • Francis Crick Institute, London, UK
  • Southwest University, China
  • Stellenbosch Universtiy, South Africa
  • Colarado State University, USA

Funded projects (recent and current only)

  • 2021-2024: ARC Discovery Project - Mycobacterial Cholesterol Degradation: A Unique Metabolic Weakness? ($498,000)
  • 2019–2022 NHMRC Project Grant - Blocking TB Latency: The Key to Reducing Therapy Duration ($606,732)
  • 2018–2021 NHMRC Project Grant - Ketol-acid reductoisomerase: An important antituberculosis drug target ($680,585)
  • 2018–2021 NHMRC Project Grant - Killing infected cells as a mechanism to eradicate tuberculosis (led by Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research) ($1,070,780)
  • 2018–2020 NHMRC Project Grant  - Novel TB Drug Candidates via the Inhibition of Lipid I Biosynthesis (led by University of Sydney) ($780,743)
  • 2018–2020 NHMRC Project Grant - Preventing the evolution of transmissible nitroimidazole resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (led by ANU) ($664,463)

Teaching interests


  • MICR3003, Molecular Microbiology (Course Co-ordinator)
  • MICR3001, Microbes and Human Health
  • BIOL2202/BIOL2902, Genetics/Advanced Genetics

Postgraduate coursework

  • MICR7002, Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Student supervision

For many years now there has been a constant presence of undergraduate and postgraduate research students in the group. Currently, I supervise students at all levels, ie. undergraduate research, Hons, MSc. and PhD.

Enquiries from students regarding available positions are always welcome.  

Achievements and awards 

  • Dean’s Commendation for Excellent Teaching, Executive Dean, FoS (2021)
  • COVID19 – Above and Beyond Honour Roll, Office of the VC(A), UQ (2020)
  • Faculty of Science, Teaching Excellence Award. Finalist. FoS, UQ (2020)
  • Chair, Scientific Program; Australian Society of Microbiology National Conference, Brisbane (2018)
  • Research Excellence Award, Australian Infectious Disease Research Centre (2015)
  • NHMRC CDA2 Research Fellow (2011)
  • Australian Society of Microbiology NSW/ACT branch Executive (2010-2012)
  • Centenary Institute “Innovation Award” (2010)

Featured publications

Researcher biography

Associate Professor West is a molecular microbiologist, expert in bacterial pathogenesis. He is Head of "Tuberculosis Research" in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland. Nick has a particular interest in drug development for TB. His research utilises modern molecular technologies to identify the genetic requirements for Mycobacterium tuberculosis to cause Tuberculosis (TB) with these genetic discoveries translated into novel antibiotic therapies. Research within his group falls largely into one of the following four themes: Essential Gene Identification in M. tuberculosis, Understanding TB Latency, Targeted TB Drug Development and Improving TB Vaccination.

Nick conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. Returning to Australia in 2004, he spent several years at Sydney's Centenary Institute as an Associate Faculty member before relocating to University of Queensland in 2012. In addition to drug development, Nick's research portfolio includes programmes of vaccine and diagnostic development and testing.