Dr Joanna Hicks

Joanna Hicks

Senior Lecturer

Qualifications: PhD (Biochemistry), MSc (1st class hons), BSc

Papers Taught

Research Supervised


  • Oldham, Keeley (in progress). Cysteine biosynthesis in Neisseria gonorrhoeae

MSc (Research)

  • McGarvie, Jack (in progress).
  • Van Niekerk, Stacy (in progress).
  • Warrender, Annmaree (2019). The role of FitAB in the maintenance of the carrier population of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.


  • Frandi, Ashleigh (in progress).

Research Interests

My research takes two directions encompassing both fundamental and applied research. Firstly we focus on bacterial metabolism and regulation of gene expression to understand how pathogenic bacteria (such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae) are able to grow in unique, often inhospitable environments, and evade host immune responses. The development of resistance to antibiotic treatments is also central to this research. In the applied direction we are engineering proteins for biotechnology applications, such as RNA sequencing.

Recent Publications

  • Oldham, K. E. A., Prentice, E. J., Summers, E. L., & Hicks, J. L. (2022). Serine acetyltransferase from Neisseria gonorrhoeae; structural and biochemical basis of inhibition. Biochemical Journal, 479(1), 57-74. doi:10.1042/bcj20210564

  • Prentice, E. J., Hicks, J., Ballerstedt, H., Blank, L. M., Liáng, L. L., Schipper, L. A., & Arcus, V. L. (2020). The inflection point hypothesis: The relationship between the temperature dependence of enzyme-catalyzed reaction rates and microbial growth rates. Biochemistry, 59(38), 3562-3569. doi:10.1021/acs.biochem.0c00530 Open Access version:

  • Hicks, J. L., & Mullholland, C. V. (2018). Cysteine biosynthesis in Neisseria species. Microbiology, 164(12), 1471-1480. doi:10.1099/mic.0.000728

  • Sharrock, A., Ruthe, A., Andrews, E. S. V., Arcus, V. A., & Hicks, J. L. (2018). VapC proteins from Mycobacterium tuberculosis share ribonuclease sequence specificity but differ in regulation and toxicity. PLoS ONE, 13(8). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0203412

Find more research publications by Joanna Hicks


Bacteria; Biochemistry; Biology; Biotechnology

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Room: C.D.2.03
Phone: +64 7 838 9399