Dr Mark Turner

Deputy Head of School

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Faculty of Science

Affiliated Associate Professor

Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
+61 7 336 57364


Dr Mark Turner is an Associate Professor in Food Microbiology in the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at the University of Queensland (UQ). Since completing his PhD at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) under the supervision of Prof Phil Giffard, he has undertaken postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Prof John Helmann (Cornell University, USA, 1999-2000) and in the CRC for Diagnostic Technologies (QUT) (2000-01). He subsequently supported his own position through being awarded a Dairy Australia Fellowship (2001-03) and an NHMRC New Investigator Grant (2004-06). He accepted a teaching and research position at UQ in 2007 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2011 and Associate Professor in 2015. He leads a research team in the area of food fermentation, quality and safety with current grants from the Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery and ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub). He has also attracted previous funding from the ARC Industry Transformation Training Centre and Linkage schemes, Horticulture Innovation (HIA), Dairy Innovation Australia Ltd (DIAL) and Geoffrey Gardiner Dairy Foundation (GGDF). His current research focus is in lactic acid bacteria genetics, stress signaling, cheese cultures, antifungal and antipathogen (Salmonella and Listeria) biocontrol applications. Mark or his group members have had the privilege of presenting invited or selected seminars in the USA, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Indonesia and South Korea on food quality and safety research areas. He has supervised 16 PhD and MPhil students to completion and currently supervises 8 PhD students, 1 postdoctoral research fellow. He teaches into food microbiology, food safety and food biotechnology courses. He is a Fellow of both the Australian Society for Microbiology (FASM) and Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (FAIFST) and a member of the editorial boards of mBio and Journal of Food Protection. He was the recipient of the 2017 Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) Keith Farrer Award of Merit.

Research Interests

  • Lactic acid bacteria genetics and manipulation
    This research interest includes fundamental structure and function studies of genes/proteins as well as applications of food and probiotic lactic acid bacteria. These include the economically important cheese fermentation starter bacterium Lactococcus lactis. We are interested in identifying the roles of genes involved in moderating stress resistance (oxidative, cell envelope and osmotic stress) with a focus on understanding c-di-AMP signalling. Techniques used in this project include gene inactivation/overexpression, suppressor mutant selection, next generation genome sequencing and bioinformatics. This work is funded by an ARC Discovery grant.
  • Biocontrol of pathogens and spoilage organisms on foods
    This research area involves the isolation and identification of naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria (LAB) on ready-to-eat vegetables which have antagonistic activity against bacterial pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella on ready-to-eat vegetables as well as spoilage fungi of dairy foods.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Queensland University of Technology


View all Publications


View all Grants


View all Supervision


Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Smith, William M., Dykes, Gary A., Soomro, Aijaz H. and Turner, Mark S. (2010). Molecular mechanisms of stress resistance in Lactococcus lactis. Current Research, Technology and Education Topics in Applied Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology. (pp. 1106-1118) edited by Antonio Méndez Vilas. Badajoz, Spain: Formatex Research Center.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Nguyen, Vu Tuan, Fegan, Narelle, Turner, Mark S. and Dykes, Gary A. (2012). Influence of prior mode of growth on physiological properties of Campylobacter cells. 12th Government Food Analysts Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 22-24 February 2011. Coopers Plains, QLD, Australia :Health and Food Sciences Precinct (HFSP).

  • Atkins, H., Geier, M. S., Turner, M., Forder, R. E. A., Pattanaik, A. K., Yazbeck, R. and Howarth, G. S. (2010). A novel mutant probiotic and the effects on colonic inflammation in a rat model of colitis. Australian Gastroenterology Week 2010, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia, 20-23 October 2010. Richmond, VIC, Australia :Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2010.06450.x

  • Wang, D. J., Turner, M. S., D'Arcy, B. R., Williams, B. A. and Ferruzi, M. G. (2010). Changes in pig ileal bacterial numbers upon exposure to grape seed extract. Nutrition Society of Australia 34th Annual Scientific Meeting (NSA2010), Perth, Australia, 30 November - 3 December 2010. Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA).

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision