Superbug researcher wins Women in Technology award

31 Aug 2015

IMB student Angie Jarrad has won the Queensland Women in Technology (WiT) PhD Career Start Award for her research to develop antibiotics to fight gut pathogens.

As part of IMB Centre for Superbug Solutions, Ms Jarrad is developing more effective treatments for Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection, which causes diarrhoea and costs the US economy over 1 billion dollars annually.

“We are developing next-generation analogues, which are drugs with a similar chemical structure to the current C. difficile antibiotic treatments metronidazole and vancomycin,” Ms Jarrad said.

“The current drugs have a high rate of treatment failure, but these analogues are similar enough to the current drugs to be effective, and different enough to get past the bacteria’s built up defences.

“I hope these analogues can become effective future treatments against these problem bacteria which are a growing threat to global health.”

Ms Jarrad has also developed new antiparasitic compounds that kill gut parasites found in contaminated drinking water, and has designed a more efficient way to prepare new drug molecules for testing.  

She hopes her research findings will help reduce the devastation caused by infectious diseases.

Ms Jarrad will use her WiT award to attend an international scientific conference where she will present her work and build her academic and industry networks.

IMB researcher Dr Mark Blaskovich, who nominated Ms Jarrad for the WiT award, said she is a promising and talented researcher.

"Angie has demonstrated a strong work ethic, a capacity for independent thinking and an ability to effectively network with other researchers," Dr Blaskovich said.

"In addition to her research, which has already led to three papers and international collaborations, Angie has been an excellent role model, mentoring undergraduate students and actively participating in IMB’s postgraduate student association.”

Ms Jarrad is an IMB Science Ambassador and has actively promoted science to schoolchildren as a Young Science Ambassador for the ATSE Wonder of Science program.

Ms Jarrad received her award at a ceremony on Friday August 28 at the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane.

Enquiries: IMB Communications, 07 3346 2134, 0418 575 247,