The Ramsay lab was established in 2013 and is based in the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute and School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University, Western Australia.


Mobile genetic elements such as plasmids, bacteriophage and chromosomally-integrating elements are ubiquitous in bacteria and drive evolution through horizontal gene transfer.
We investigate the gene regulation, evolution and molecular biology of bacterial mobile genetic elements - along with a plethora of other interesting things we get our hands on!

The Ramsay lab currently studies mobile genetic elements active in both human pathogens (Staphylococcus aureus) and beneficial nitrogen-fixing plant-associated rhizobia (Mesorhizobium spp). 


An epigenetic switch activates bacterial quorum sensing and horizontal transfer of an integrative and conjugative element

Joshua P. Ramsay, Tahlia R. Bastholm, Callum J. Verdonk, Dinah D. Tambalo, John T. Sullivan, Liam K. Harold, Beatrice A. Panganiban, Elena Colombi, Benjamin J. Perry, William Jowsey, Calum Morris, Michael F. Hynes, Charles S. Bond, Andrew D.S. Cameron, Christopher K. Yost and Clive W. Ronson

Nucleic Acids Research 2021

Evolving origin-of-transfer sequences on staphylococcal conjugative and mobilizable plasmids-who's mimicking whom?

Yui Eto K, Kwong SM, LaBreck PT, Crow JE, Traore DAK, Parahitiyawa N, Fairhurst HM, Merrell DS, Firth N, Bond CS, Ramsay JP.

Nucleic Acids Research 2021


Multiple introductions of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ST612 into Western Australia associated both with human and equine reservoirs

Murphy RJT, Ramsay JP, Lee YT, Pang S, O'Dea MA, Pearson JC, Axon JE, Raby E, Abdulgader SM, Whitelaw A, Coombs GW

International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 2019


Evolution of a 72-Kilobase Cointegrant, Conjugative Multiresistance Plasmid in Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates from the Early 1990s

Eto KY, Firth N, Davis AM, Kwong SM, Krysiak M, Lee YT, O'Brien FG, Grubb WB, Coombs GW, Bond CS, Ramsay JP

Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 2019


Delineation of the integrase-attachment and origin-of-transfer regions of the symbiosis island ICEMlSymR7A

Verdonk CJ, Sullivan JT, Williman KM, Nicholson L, Bastholm TR, Hynes MF, Ronson CW, Bond CS, Ramsay JP

Plasmid 2019

Sequential induction of three recombination directionality factors directs

assembly of tripartite Integrative and Conjugative Elements

Haskett TL, Terpolilli JJ, Ramachandran VK, Verdonk CJ, Poole PS, O’Hara GW, Ramsay JP.

PLoS Genetics 2018 (Early online)

Evolutionary persistence of tripartite integrative and conjugative elements

Haskett TL, Ramsay JP, Bekuma AA, Sullivan JT, O'Hara GW, Terpolilli JJ.

Plasmid. 2017 92:30-36

Assembly and transfer of tripartite integrative and conjugative

genetic elements

Haskett TL, Terpolilli JJ, Bekuma A, O'Hara GW, Sullivan JT, Wang P, Ronson CW, Ramsay JP.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 2016 113:12268-12273