Professor Gilda Tachedjian

Head of Life Sciences; Head of Tachedjian Laboratory (Retroviral Biology and Antivirals)


Awarded her PhD at Monash University, Professor Tachedjian received an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship to undertake postdoctoral studies at Columbia University in New York with Professor Stephen Goff on retroviral replication.

In 2002, Professor Tachedjian was recruited to Burnet Institute. She was awarded an NHMRC RD Wright Career Development Award in 2003 and an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship’s in 2009 and in 2017.

A virologist combining interdisciplinary basic, translational and clinical research to identify and develop effective drug-based strategies to prevent and control emerging pathogens including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). She has made major contributions to HIV reverse transcriptase, antivirals, drug resistance and HIV prevention research. She was awarded the Fenner Prize in 2012 by the Australian Society for Microbiology for her distinguished contributions to research in Microbiology.

Her current areas of interest include discovering a new HIV drug class using fragment-based drug design and understanding the role of the genital microbiota and their metabolites on adverse sexual (e.g. HIV) and reproductive health outcomes. She also has an interest in bat retroviruses and restriction factors.

Major research findings include discovering that a metabolite produced by optimal vaginal microbiota has potent HIV virucidal activity and immune modulatory effects on cervicovaginal epithelial cells that could explain in part why optimal vaginal lactobacilli are associated with decreased susceptibility to HIV (US Patent awarded in 2017).

Discovered new building blocks for drugs that target the HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) by mechanisms distinct to antiretrovirals used for HIV treatment and prevention as well as mutations in HIV RT that confer resistance to antiretroviral drugs which are incorporated in genotyping algorithms for predicting HIV drug resistance.

Played major roles in the preclinical development of microbicides to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV and the completion of a phase I clinical study (SPL7013-003) to determine the retention of the dendrimer microbicide VivaGel after vaginal dosing in healthy women.

Discovered that bats, which represent one of three significant reservoirs for deadly zoonotic viruses, encode APOBEC3, a major class of intrinsic antiviral genes, that are the most numerous and diverse of any mammal reported to date.

She developed a yeast two-hybrid assay for studying the interaction between the two subunits of the RT enzyme, which was patented. This led to the discovery that potent nonnucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs) enhance RT subunit interaction and can unexpectedly affect the late stages of HIV replication.


  • 2019: Associate Editor, Viruses
  • 2018: Adjunct Professor, Monash University
  • 2017: President Australasian Virology Society
  • 2017: Executive Member, Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology Research
  • 2017: Member, National Examinations and Qualifications Board, Australian Society for Microbiology
  • 2017: Honorary Professor, Melbourne University
  • 2015: Vice President, Australasian Virology Society
  • 2014: Editorial Board, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
  • 2013: Principal for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Burnet Institute
  • 2012 – 2017: Member Judging Panel, Premiers Award for Health and Medical Research
  • 2011: ASMR representative on the Premiers Award for Health and Medical Research judging panel.
  • 2011: Academic Editor, PLoS ONE
  • 2009: Principal Burnet Fellow, Burnet Institute
  • 2009: Editorial Board, AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
  • 2008: Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Monash University
  • 2007: Editorial Board, The Open Microbiology Journal
  • 2005: Editorial Board, Current HIV Research
  • 2005: Honorary Senior Lecturer, Department of Microbiology, Monash University
  • 2005-2007: Director, ASMR National Committee
  • 2005-2010: ASMR Liaison to the Premiers Award for Health and Medical Research
  • 2004-2005: Victorian State Convenor, ASMR Medical Research Week
  • 2004: Member, National Centre for HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research Antiretroviral Working Group.
  • 2002: Committee Member ASMR MRW, Victorian Branch


  • 2017: Head of Life Sciences, Burnet Institute
  • 2017: co-Head, Eliminate HIV
  • 2017: NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
  • 2011: Head, Retroviral Biology and Antivirals Laboratory, Burnet Institute
  • 2009: NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
  • 2003-2010: Head, Molecular Interactions Group, Burnet Institute
  • 1997-2001: CJ Martin Postdoctoral Fellow (Laboratory of Professor Stephen P Goff) Columbia University, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York, USA.


  • 1997: PhD in Microbiology, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
  • 1984: BSc (Hons), Monash University, Australia


  • 2012: Fenner Award, Burnet Institute
  • 2012: Fenner Award, Australian Society for Microbiology
  • 2011: Fellow of the Australian Society for Microbiology (FASM)
  • 2009: NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship
  • 2008: Nick Crofts Publication Award for top rated publication from the Burnet Institute in 2007
  • 2004: CASS Foundation Travel Grant
  • 2003: NHMRC RD Wright Career Development Award
  • 1997: NHMRC CJ Martin Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1995: First Prize, Best Oral Presentation, 7th Annual Conference ASHM, Coolum, Australia

Projects (15)

Current (10)

  • A novel gel for targeting vaginal inflammation to prevent HIV transmission

  • Antimicrobial and immune modulatory effects of vaginal microbiota metabolites

  • Bat viruses and antiviral immunity❗PhD Projects Available

  • Burnet Microbiome Initiative

  • Characterisation of retroviruses in bats

  • Development of hydrogel based intravaginal drug delivery device

  • EVE-M

  • Impact of a vaginal microbiota metabolite on epithelium integrity and HIV susceptibility

  • Intrinsic host antiviral activity against pathogenic viruses

  • Targeting novel sites on reverse transcriptase for HIV treatment and prevention

Publications (112)

2022 (6)

2021 (10)

2020 (7)

2019 (9)

2018 (3)

2017 (3)

2016 (7)

2015 (5)

2013 (7)

2012 (7)

2011 (3)

2010 (4)

2009 (4)

2008 (2)

2007 (5)

2006 (2)

2005 (7)

2004 (1)

2003 (2)

2002 (1)

2001 (1)

2000 (1)

1998 (2)

1997 (1)

1996 (2)

1995 (2)

1994 (1)

1993 (1)

1992 (1)

1990 (3)

1988 (2)

News Articles (52)

2022 (4)

2021 (4)

2020 (6)

2019 (5)

2018 (8)

2017 (6)

2016 (5)

2015 (4)

2014 (3)

2013 (2)

2012 (4)

2011 (1)