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Dana Stanley

Assoc Professor - Molecular Microbiology
School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Institue for Future Farming Systems
(07) 4923 2079
Rockhampton North
CQIRP - Room 1.21
Ibis Avenue
About Me

Dr Stanley is one of Australia’s highest contributors to the field of poultry intestinal microbiota. Using sequencing technology and 16S rRNA gene to study microbial diversity is a relatively new approach that requires substantial knowledge of microbiology, molecular biology and bioinformatics.

Dr Stanley’s research on intestinal microbiota in health and disease focuses on the role of microbiota in poultry and other agricultural animals, as well as rodent models of human disease. She reported a relationship between intestinal bacteria and the ability of agricultural animals to retain energy from feed as well as the identification of phylotypes responsible for improved weight gain per unit of feed. She is currently developing probiotics with enhanced epigenetic effects to be used in agricultural breeding stock. Complementary to the role of microbiota in health, she is investigating the role of microbiota in disease prevention. Necrotic enteritis (NE) cost the international agricultural industry over $2 billion annually. Although it is widely accepted that Clostridium perfringens is the cause of NE, she proposed in her recent work that NE is considerably more complex than previously realised. She published on NE in 3 manuscripts, noting that 1) Induction of clinical symptoms requires the abundant intestinal bacteria, Weisella confusa, to be removed. She hypothesised that W. confusa, producer of gut epithelium protective mucous, prevents C. perfringens attaching to mucosa. 2) Although C. perfringens numbers increased in sick birds, the other unknown and unclassified order of Mollicutes, also involved in the onset of irritable bowel syndrome, increased much more than C. perfringens. 3) Virulent strain of C. perfringens administered in high doses during an experimental challenge is not capable of establishing itself in healthy birds but only in immuno-compromised hosts. 4) Well-known immunomodulating segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) play a key role in preventing expansion of C. perfringens.

Additionally, Dr Stanley is a dedicated researcher is the area of poultry gut health and is one of the most published researchers at an international level, in the area of poultry gut heath and the role of optimal intestinal bacterial community in bird performance. Dr Stanley is currently investigating the nanoparticle based delivery of essential minerals and their ability to be used to deliver other treatments, such as antimicrobials and next generation probiotic development as a part of DECRA fellowship project. Dr Stanley is proactive and strongly associated with poultry industry collaborating with major poultry industry producers as evident from the current proposal.

Dana Stanley’s intestinal microbiota agricultural and veterinary research is complemented with human health studies. She established a reputation as a researcher in intestinal microbiota through long-term investigations in human health that resulted in high impact publications. She investigated how metabolic products from microbial fermentation of dietary fibre through metabolite-sensing receptors GPR43 and GPR109A prevent colitis (Nature Communications, 2015, 91 GS citations). Similarly, in another project she co-investigated the mechanisms behind microbiota-induced epigenetic effects in regulating the development of allergic airways disease (Nature Communications, 2015, 59 GS citations). Lastly her most recent manuscript (as a first author) was published in Nature Medicine (impact factor 33) reporting a microbiota role in post stroke mortality. This manuscript is considered game changing in our understanding of stroke mortality. It reveals that stroke event causes massive shock to immune and epithelial signalling system which results in compromised intestinal epithelial integrity and subsequent translocation of intestinal bacteria from the gut into the blood and organs. Gut permeability was highest at 3 hours post stroke, after which time epithelial integrity gets restored, however, a number of species comprising major lung pathogens already reached the lung at this stage and the unusual pneumonia, caused by dozens of different pathogens mounts antibiotic resistant lung infection that cannot be treated with antibiotics. Commonly administered antibiotics cannot cover the whole range of pathogens translocated to the lung. This manuscript received high media attention and was featured in Herald Sun, Morning Bulletin, Daily Telegraph Australia, Brisbane Courier-Mail and a number of radio interviews and it is of high clinical relevance.

Dana’s most recent publication, in Nature Immunology (impact 22), identifies the role of short chain fatty acids in the onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D). The modification of food to allow high concentrations of butyrate and/or acetate in the colon resulted in high level of protection from T1D, while combination of both high acetate and high butyrate provided total protection from T1D in NOD mouse T1D model. The fecal transplant from high acetate protected mice was able to confer protection in germ free recipients fed normal standard chow. Acetate was conferring protection via B-cell and butyrate via T-cell modifications.

In addition to the above high quality publications, Dr Stanley has been running clinical trials with the Clinical Research Institute as the lead investigator exploring the role of microbiota in cancer and removal of diabetes in post bariatric surgery, with first, high quality research outputs expected to be published in 2017.

Recently Dana was awarded ARC DECRA fellowship (started in 2016). Immediately after DECRA was announced her previous massive teaching load was almost completely removed; she has been since fully dedicated to research. DECRA-instigated teaching relief resulted in more than tripled research outputs in 2016: Dana submitted 17 manuscripts in 2016, 9 manuscripts were published in 2016 and another 5 already accepted/ published in early 2017 with others remaining under review. The significance of DECRA award for Dana’s career is becoming more evident comparing 2016 teaching-free research outputs with 2015 when she published 3 manuscripts. Dr Stanley’s work in intestinal health and microbiota is steadily growing in citations with annual citation number from 2014-2016 (GS) going from 91, 145 to 297 citations in 2016.

Dana has brought multiple grants from Poultry CRC and 2015 ARC DECRA fellowship. Total value of the grants DS is named as CI on is $833,824, out of that $663,824 as CIA.

In 7 years post PhD, Dana Stanley published 41 manuscripts, (32 journal manuscripts and 8 conference proceedings) with multiple Nature journals publications, 745 citations and H index 13 by Google Scholar, and Scopus 492 citations and H index 12. Level C academic, 7 yeast post PhD, ARC fellow, NHMRC panel reviewer.


Gene expression




Intestinal microbiota

Probiotic development

Universities Studied At

Victoria University, Melbourne

Universities Worked At

Victoria University, Melbourne

Central Queensland University, Rockhampton


Research Supervision

I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:

  • Animal Production
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

At the level of Principal Supervisor

Current Capacity
I am currently available to supervise more research candidates
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