Dr Iain David Hay

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Senior Lecturer


The overarching theme of my research is understanding the bacterial cell surface and cellular envelope - the interface through which bacteria interact with the world. More than a third of bacterial proteins reside within the envelope or must traverse it via secretion. The secretion of large, folded macromolecules across the bacterial envelope poses a complex and fundamental problem – how to selectively assemble and/or secrete these large proteins while maintaining the integrity of the cell.

I employ an array of structural, genetic, biochemical, and imaging techniques to understand how bacteria assemble a functional cell envelope. I have expertise in the in vitro and in vivo characterisation of bacterial membrane protein complexes, using various techniques; including classic molecular biology, cryo-electron microscopy, in vivo crosslinking, super-resolution microscopy, and genetic screens

Postgraduate supervision

If you are interested in the molecular and/or structural biology of bacterial pathogens, please feel free to contact me about potential postgraduate study opportunities.

Opportunities for students interested at looking into bacterial – phage interactions are also available.

Previous supervised students

  • Mr Eric Mandela - Ongoing co-supervision at Monash University
  • Dr. Von Torres (Now at The University of Queensland) - Investigating members of the Omp85 protein superfamily in Klebsiella pneumoniae. Co-supervision
  • Dr. Dilshan Gunasinghe (now at UNSW) - A Single Molecule Localization and In situ Crosslinking Study of the Beta-barrel Assembly Machinery in Escherichia coli. Co-supervision

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Hay, I. D., & Lithgow, T. (2019). Filamentous phages: masters of a microbial sharing economy. EMBO reports, 20 (6).10.15252/embr.201847427
  • Torres, V. V. L., Heinz, E., Stubenrauch, C. J., Wilksch, J. J., Cao, H., Yang, J., ... Webb, C. T. (2018). An investigation into the Omp85 protein BamK in hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae, and its role in outer membrane biogenesis. Molecular microbiology, 109 (5), 584-599. 10.1111/mmi.13990
  • Grinter, R., Hay, I. D., Song, J., Wang, J., Teng, D., Dhanesakaran, V., ... Beckham, S. A. (2018). FusC, a member of the M16 protease family acquired by bacteria for iron piracy against plants. PLoS biology, 16 (8)10.1371/journal.pbio.2006026
  • Gunasinghe, S. D., Shiota, T., Stubenrauch, C. J., Schulze, K. E., Webb, C. T., Fulcher, A. J., ... Whelan, D. R. (2018). The WD40 Protein BamB Mediates Coupling of BAM Complexes into Assembly Precincts in the Bacterial Outer Membrane. Cell Reports, 23 (9), 2782-2794. 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.04.093
  • Deo, P., Chow, S. H., Hay, I. D., Kleifeld, O., Costin, A., Elgass, K. D., ... Dougan, G. (2018). Outer membrane vesicles from Neisseria gonorrhoeae target PorB to mitochondria and induce apoptosis. PLoS pathogens, 14 (3)10.1371/journal.ppat.1006945
  • Hay, I. D., Belousoff, M. J., Dunstan, R. A., Bamert, R. S., & Lithgow, T. (2018). Structure and Membrane Topography of the Vibrio-Type Secretin Complex from the Type 2 Secretion System of Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli. Journal of bacteriology, 200 (5).10.1128/jb.00521-17
  • Hay, I. D., Belousoff, M. J., & Lithgow, T. (2017). Structural Basis of Type 2 Secretion System Engagement between the Inner and Outer Bacterial Membranes. mBio, 8 (5).10.1128/mbio.01344-17
  • Hay, I. D., Hooks, D. O., & Rehm, B. H. A. (2017). Use of Bacterial Polyhydroxyalkanoates in Protein Display Technologies. In T. J. McGenity, K. N. Timmis, B. Nogales (Eds.) Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology Protocols Bioproducts, Biofuels, Biocatalysts and Facilitating Tools (pp. 71-86). Springer. 10.1007/8623_2014_34


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 4018
New Zealand

Web links