Trevor Lithgow is an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow in the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University. Lithgow is a molecular biologist who has made fundamental contributions to several different research fields. He is best known for his work on protein targeting and membrane biogenesis. Using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system his lab identified several of the components of the mitochondrial protein transport pathway, particularly focussed on the pathway driving integral membrane protein assembly into the mitochondrial outer membrane. His lab was the first to derive a complete model for the evolution of the molecular machines that drive mitochondrial biogenesis from the bacterial ancestry that gave rise to mitochondria. Current work in the Lithgow lab, using Escherichia coli as a model system, is focused on the mechanisms of outer membrane biogenesis in bacteria. He is the author of more than 100 research articles, including papers in Nature and Science.
Professor Lithgow received his PhD from La Trobe University in 1992. As a postdoctoral fellow with Gottfried Schatz at the University of Basel he helped discover components of the protein translocase in the outer mitochondrial membrane (TOM complex) and characterize the function of receptor domains in discriminating and driving protein transport into mitochondria. He lectured in Biochemistry at La Trobe University for four years and lectured in Molecular Biology at the University of Melbourne for ten years. He came to Monash in 2008 as an ARC Federation Fellow to establish an inter-departmental research program in Host-Pathogen Molecular Biology and an NHMRC Program in Cellular Microbiology.
In recognition of his scientific accomplishments Lithgow was awarded as one of the ten HFSP Outstanding Research Fellows in 1999, awarded the Roche Medal from the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2004 and the David Syme Research Prize in 2005. In 2008 he was awarded the Beckman-Coulter Discovery Science Award of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and appointed as an Honorary Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Melbourne. Professor Lithgow was made a Federation Fellow of the Australian Research Council in 2008, an Australian Laureate Fellow in 2014, awarded the distinguished alumni award by La Trobe University in 2009, and was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2010.