Medical Science

Peter Anderson

B.Sc (H1) School of Biological Sciences, University of New England, 1996
Ph.D. School of Biological Sciences, University of New England, 2001

Lecturer in Microbiology
Building 1001 Room A89

Dr. Anderson completed doctoral studies at the University of New England, New South Wales in 2001.  His doctoral research was on the accumulation of a trace metal, cobalt, as well as vitamin B12 synthesis in the obligate anaerobic bacterium, Selenomonas ruminantium.  In 2001, he took up a postdoctoral research position at the University of Utah with John Roth's genetics lab.  About a year later, the entire lab moved to the University of California, Davis.  In John Roth's lab, Dr. Anderson learned to use bacterial genetic techniques to determine the final steps involved in the synthesis of vitamin B12 cofactors in Salmonella, a model organism for B12 synthesis. As it turned out, Salmonella was making pseudovitamin B12 rather than vitamin B12.  With some help from Prof. Bernhard Kräutler at the University of Innsbruk, who gifted a tiny amount of otherwise unobtainable pure pseudovitamin B12, it was possible to show that this bacterial cofactor was biologically relevant in the ethanoloamine ammonia lyase and methionine synthase reactions as well as being able to characterise the compounds made by thirty or so Salmonella B12 point mutants.  A spin-off from this research was that it allowed the synthesis of carbon-14 vitamin B12 and, therefore, the use of carbon dating techniques that are sensitive enough to follow the vitamin's complicated uptake in human.

In October 2006, Dr. Anderson moved from Davis, California to Monash University, Clayton and worked on the red blood cell stage of the malaria parasite; searching for potential vaccine candidates. In July 2009, he took up a faculty position with the School of Biomedical Sciences at Charles Sturt University, Orange, New South Wales.


A new, safe test for human vitamin B12 absorption

The effect of gut flora on mood in rat model

What keeps rural teeth healthy?

Development of a TB drug pipeline

A new taxon of antibiotic-producing Enterobacteriaciae, GM1


  • American Society for Microbiology


  • 2013 Federal Government Office of Learning and Teaching Citation (OLT):

An interdisciplinary science team teaching initiative for on campus and distance education students: fostering student engagement in first year microbiology. Microbiology Development Team: John Harper, Peter Anderson, Leigh Schmidtke, Brett Biles, Thiru Vanniasinkam.

  • 2013 Science Faculty Team Award:

Leading Development of H Block Orange- James Crane, Andrew Delaney, Peter Anderson, Greg Maynard, Scott Andrew and Chris Parkinson

  • 2012 Vice Chancellors Award; Microbiology Development Team


  • 1994 University of New England - Mannheim Boehringer Prize for Biochemistry


  • 2016-2017: Alexandra Jones and Peter Anderson.  Project 101983. What keeps rural teeth healthy? Funding body: NSW Health. Funded: $29,869
  • 2014-2015: Anderson, P.  Project 100960 Proof-of-concept synthesis of Carbon-13 Vitamin B12 at 20mg scale. Funded: $33,800. Isosciences (USA)
  • 2014: Anderson, P. Analysis of Devro Medical Grade Collagen.  Funded: $1585. Devro, Bathurst, NSW.
  • 2013: Anderson, P.  Project 100787.  Proof of concept synthesis of carbon-13 vitamin B12 at 1mg scale.  Funded: $5,860 Isosciences (USA)


  • 2015: Anderson, P. Faculty of Science, Charles Sturt University.  The Synthesis of Carbon-13 Vitamin B12 on 20mg scale. Funded: $33,800.
  • 2015-2016: Anderson, P. School of Biomedical Sciences.  Proof of concept synthesis of carbon-13 vitamin B12 at 1mg scale.  Funded: $5,860.


  • 2016 Mariam Beshay MSc (Philosophy)
    Thesis title: The absorption of carbon-13 enriched vitamin B12 in rat and human
  • 2014 Madeleine Kelly. BSc (Honours H1)
    Thesis title: The effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC53103 on anxiety and depression in rat model
  • 2013 Tim Kudinha.  PhD.
    Thesis title: The epidemiology of UPEC
  • 2013 Robbie Ruskin.  MSc (coursework).
    Thesis title: The effect of folate fortification in Canada
  • 2013 Saina Paul. B. Pharm (Honours H1).
    Thesis title: Evidence that an antibiotic-producing bacterium, GM1, belongs to a new taxon in the Enterobacteriaceae

Current subjects taught:

MCR101: Microbiology.

DOH133: Dental Microbiology.

BMS239: Clinical Measurement.

BMS342: Medicinal and Indigenous Foods

BMS313: Infectious Diseases and Applied Immunology.


HUMAN MEDICINE: A new, safe test for human vitamin B12 absorption. The synthesis of heavy, non-radioactive vitamin B12 in my lab at Charles Sturt University in 2013, in commercial quantities, has opened-the-door for the development of a much-needed, safe, non-radioactive and quantitative replacement for the radioactive Schilling test.  In the new B12 absorption test, an oral micro dose of heavy vitamin B12 is taken in a glass of water and, if absorbed normally,  the carbon-13 enriched vitamin is detected in the bloodstream between 7-9 hours later.  In 2015-2016 research by MSc (Philosophy) student Mariam Beshay showed that the carbon-13 enriched vitamin B12 was equivalent in safety to naturally-occurring B12 in cell culture and in rat model.  Moving on, the next step is to gather quantitative human data in a small number (n=1 or 2) trial, to show proof-of-concept of the new B12 absorption test.

THE EFFECT OF GUT FLORA ON MOOD IN RAT MODEL: over the past 5 years, a significant body of research has established that gut microbiota  can influence physical and mental states in animal model (mouse/rat) and in human.  In this honours project, we have investigated the evidence provided by Bravo et al (2011), that a specific bacterium, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, alters the mood of mouse through the bacterially-produced neurotransmitter GABA, mediated by the vagus nerve.  Our research was carried out by CSU honours student Madeleine Kelly, who was the first School of Biomedical Science full-year honours student on Orange campus, as well as the first Clinical Science student to the honours pathway.  The main findings of this research are currently being duplicated ahead of publication.

WHAT KEEPS RURAL TEETH HEALTHY?  In Australia dental caries is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting both children and adults. It is estimated that the direct costs of dental disease to the Australian health-care system exceeded $5.3 billion in 2005-2006. Rural and remote areas have the lowest ratio of practicing dentists and dental specialist care services per capita, creating inequality in access to dental care.  The aim is to conduct a cross-sectional study in an Australian rural population to determine those factors that keep teeth healthy. The study will consist of six patient cohorts (n>=25 for each cohort) split into two comparison groups, having either low fluoride (0.0 – 0.3 ppm) in their drinking water or normal fluoride (0.6 - 1.1 ppm) after laboratory analysis of home water samples. Within each comparison group, patients will be sorted into three classes: (i) caries-free (ii) caries in upper anterior (iii) caries in lower anterior. Genetic analysis of genes statistically linked to caries (SCPP, LYZL2 MPPED2 and ACTN2) will be carried out at Australian Genome Research Facility (AGRF) after PCR amplification of DNA purified from buccal swabs.  Oral microbial ecology (diversity) will be reported through metagenome analysis carried out at AGRF by sequencing of 16s and 18s rDNA from the oral cavity.  Extracted teeth may be analysed by X-ray electron microscopy, to determine mineralisation over a lifetime.

DEVELOPMENT OF A TB DRUG PIPELINE:since the discovery of antibiotics, many researchers have used non-selective methods to discover new antibiotics, which is a hit-and-miss approach.  I propose instead that large-scale discovery of antibiotic producing microorganisms can be done using a selective screening approach.  At CSU Orange, we have developed an overlapping set of conditions that will allow our TB model organism to grow while also allowing micro-fungi (potential antibiotic-producers that share the same cell design as humans) to grow simultaneously.  We are using this approach to find new antibiotic-producing microorganisms.

A NEW TAXON OF ANTIBIOTIC-PRODUCING ENTEROBACTERIACIAE, GM1: There is a need for new classes of antibiotics and an understanding of how, genetically, such antibiotics are synthesized.  A new taxon of a Gram negative bacterium has recently been discovered by researchers at Charles Sturt University, Orange Campus, and is referred to here as GM1.  GM1 secretes an antibiotic-like compound.  DNA sequencing of the 16s rDNA and rpob genes at the Australian Genome Research Facility (AGRF), as well as biochemical analyses, revealed that this bacterium is a new taxon of Enterobacteriaceae, close to but distinct from the genus Serratia.  This research  project has three or more questions available for investigation individually at honours student level or collectively at PhD standard.  The genome of GM1 was sequenced in 2014 and now needs to be correctly assembled and annotated for publication as a genome announcement.  For publication of this new taxon in a taxonomy journal, a few remaining analyses need to be completed, the most significant being analysis of the cell wall peptidoglycan structure.  The structural characterization of the antibiotic-like compound needs to be completed.  Knock-out of antibiotic producing polyketide synthetic genes in GM1 would help to confirm the genetic basis of antibiotic synthesis.


  1. Kudinha T, Johnson JR, Andrew SD, Kong F, Anderson P, Gilbert GL. Escherichia coli Sequence Type 131 (ST131) as a Prominent Cause of Antibiotic Resistance among Urinary Escherichia coli Isolates from Reproductive-age Women. Journal of clinical microbiology. 2013:JCM. 01315-13.
  2. Kudinha T, Johnson JR, Andrew SD, Kong F, Anderson P, Gilbert GL. Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of Escherichia coli isolates from children with urinary tract infection and from healthy carriers. The Pediatric infectious disease journal. 2013;32(5):543-8.
  3. Kudinha T, Johnson J, Andrew S, Kong F, Anderson P, Gilbert G. Distribution of phylogenetic groups, sequence type ST131, and virulence‐associated traits among Escherichia coli isolates from men with pyelonephritis or cystitis and healthy controls. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. 2013;19(4):E173-E80.
  4. Kudinha T, Kong F, Johnson JR, Andrew SD, Anderson P, Gilbert GL. Multiplex PCR-based reverse line blot assay for simultaneous detection of 22 virulence genes in uropathogenic Escherichia coli. Applied and environmental microbiology. 2012;78(4):1198-202.
  5. Anderson PJ, Dueker S, Miller J, Green R, Roth J, Carkeet C, et al. Assay for vitamin B12 absorption and method of making labelled vitamin B12. US Patent 20,120,264,174; 2012.
  6. Anderson, P. J., Lango, J., Carkeet, C., Britten, A., Kräutler, B., Hammock, B. D., & Roth, J. R. (2008). One pathway can incorporate either adenine or dimethylbenzimidazole as an α-axial ligand of B12 cofactors in Salmonella enterica. Journal of bacteriology, 190(4), 1160-1171.
  7. Miller JW, Dueker SR, Carkeet C, Anderson P, Buchholz BA, Green R. Measurement of vitamin B12 absorption in a human subject using 14C-B12. The FASEB Journal. 2006;20:A858.
  8. Carkeet C, Dueker SR, Lango J, Buchholz BA, Miller JW, Green R, Bruce D. Hammock, John R. Roth and Peter J. Anderson. Human vitamin B12 absorption measurement by accelerator mass spectrometry using specifically labelled 14C-cobalamin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2006;103(15):5694-9.
  9. Campbell GR, Taga ME, Mistry K, Lloret J, Anderson PJ, Roth JR, et al. Sinorhizobium melilotibluB is necessary for production of 5, 6-dimethylbenzimidazole, the lower ligand of B12. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2006;103(12):4634-9.
  10. Anderson PJ, Cole LJ, McKay DB, Entsch B. A flavoprotein encoded in Selenomonas ruminantium is characterized after expression in Escherichia coli. Protein Expr Purif. 2002;24(3):429-38.
  11. Anderson PJ, Entsch B, McKay DB. A gene, cobA+hemD, from Selenomonas ruminantium encodes a bifunctional enzyme involved in the synthesis of vitamin B12. Gene. 2001;281(1-2):63-70.
  12. Anderson PJ. Cobalt Accumulation and Vitamin B12 Biosynthesis in Selenomonas ruminatium. Doctoral Thesis. University of New England; 2001.


"Pseudo-B12 joins the cofactor family"

editorial written on my first author paper "One pathway can incorporate either adenine or dimethylbenzimidazole as an α-axial ligand of B12 cofactors in Salmonella enterica." Authors: Taga ME, Walker GC. Journal of Bacteriology. 2008 Feb;190(4):1157-9.

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