Dr. Celeste Donato

Dr. Celeste Donato holds joint Senior Research Fellow positions in the Enteric Diseases research group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and at the Australian Pathogen Genomics Program at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. She is also an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne as well as an Adjunct Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Microbiology at Monash University.


Dr. Donato is a virologist known for her expertise in rotavirus epidemiology and evolution. In addition to rotavirus, she has extensive experience in RSV, norovirus, enterovirus, astrovirus and influenza research.
Celeste completed her PhD in the Enteric Diseases Group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Department of Microbiology at La Trobe University in 2015. Her project focussed on the impact of rotavirus vaccine introduction on the diversity and evolution of rotavirus strains in Australia. She then completed a two-year postdoctoral position at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, where she characterised outbreaks of viral infections in several countries within Southeast Asia. Celeste was awarded a prestigious NHMRC Peter Doherty Biomedical Fellowship and joined the Laboratory of Virus Evolution in the Department of Microbiology at Monash University in late 2016. In 2019 Celeste re-joined the Enteric Diseases Group the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute as a Senior Research Officer. She currently leads the genomic characterisation of rotavirus strains within the Australian Rotavirus Surveillance Program and the microbiome and virome exploratory studies within the RV3-BB vaccine clinical trial.


Dr. Donato has extensive laboratory expertise in rotavirus genotyping, full genome sequencing, and NGS methodologies. Dr. Donato is an expert in generation and curation of large genomic datasets, in particular alignments of large, complex genomes of viruses that undergo genomic recombination. She is also an expert in generating and interpreting phylogenetics trees using a variety of programs and Bayesian methods for evolutionary analysis.