Professor Geoffrey Coombs

Professor Coombs is the current Chair of Public Health at Murdoch University, where he is a Fellow of the Centre for Biosecurity and One Health, and the PathWest Laboratory Medicine – WA Senior Clinical Scientist for the Department of Microbiology at the Fiona Stanley Hospital Network.      

Having worked in diagnostic microbiology and research, Professor Coombs has assisted NATA on many occasions, not only as member of MTAAC, but as a NATA assessor.  His expertise in bacteriology, in particular antimicrobial resistance and molecular epidemiology, has been valuable in accrediting the rapidly evolving diagnostic microbiology laboratory.  In addition to assessing microbiology laboratories in most parts of Australia, he has assisted NATA and the International Accreditation of New Zealand in performing assessments in South-East Asia and New Zealand. 

Although still working in diagnostic microbiology, over the last five years Geoff and his Murdoch colleagues have established the Antimicrobial Resistance and Infectious Diseases (AMRID) Research laboratory; a 3.5 million-dollar One Health research and antimicrobial resistance surveillance facility located within the College of Science, Health, Engineering, and Education at Murdoch University.  The AMRID research focuses on the key emerging challenges at the human-animal-environment interface in Australia and globally. This includes integrated management of animal health and zoonotic diseases in many developing countries, food safety risk assessment, antimicrobial resistance, and epidemiology of foodborne pathogens.   

Geoff’s passion for medical microbiology has resulted in him serving on many government and professional societies’ committees.  He is currently the President of the Australian Society of Antimicrobials and Chair of the Australian Group for Antimicrobial Resistance, an Australian-wide antimicrobial resistance surveillance program funded by the Department of Health.  In 2023 he becomes the President of the UK-based International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. Until recently, he was a member of the Australian Government Scientific Technical Advisory Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, which produced Australia’s First National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2015 – 2019.    

His passion for research has resulted in over 220 peer-reviewed publications and over 350 national and international conference proceedings.  He currently supervises eleven higher degree students including five PhD candidates. 

Although having a busy career, over the last two years, Professor Coombs was able to assist NATA in assessing 14 SARS laboratories requiring urgent accreditation for COVID-19 testing.  

We want to take this opportunity to thank Professor Coombs for his remarkable work with NATA and although he is leaving the MTAAC, we look forward to inviting Geoff to participate in future NATA assessments.