Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Explorer Grant gives scientist ammo in ‘arms race’

Explorer Grant gives scientist ammo in ‘arms race’ with infectious microbes


Science communications whizz and microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles has been awarded an Explorer Grant from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) to take the fight to an ever-changing foe: infectious microbes.

“We are locked in an arms race with a diverse army of opponents who can evolve much faster than we can,” says Dr Wiles, head of the Bioluminescent Superbugs Group at the University of Auckland.

“These microbes place a huge burden on the New Zealand health system. A staggering one in four overnight hospital admissions are infection-related.”

Dr Wiles was awarded the New Zealand Association of Scientists Science Communication Award in 2012 and the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication prize last year. She is also a recipient of the HRC’s prestigious Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship.

As part of the Explorer Grant, Dr Wiles and her team will investigate how infectious microbes adapt to live and cause disease in their hosts and what factors influence this arms race. To do this, they will use a bacterium that infects laboratory mice using the same ‘modus operandi’ as life-threatening human pathogens.

“The knowledge gained from this study will allow the evolution of infectious microbes to be anticipated and should highlight new ‘chinks’ in our opponents’ armour,” says Dr Wiles.

Dr Wiles is one of three researchers to receive a 2014 Explorer Grant from the HRC. These grants are intended to advance ideas considered to be transformative, innovative, exploratory or unconventional, and have potential for major impact.

Professor Gregory Cook from the University of Otago, Dunedin, has been awarded an Explorer Grant to develop novel antibiotics that aim to transform the way we treat bacterial infections and combat multidrug-resistant bacteria.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released its first global report on antibiotic resistance, revealing it as a serious, worldwide threat to public health1.

In contrast to current antibiotic targets such as the cell wall, protein and DNA synthesis, Professor Cook’s team have developed new antibiotics that target the part of all living cells that produce energy. These new antibiotics or ‘metabiotics’, so-called because they target a metabolic process, will help the medical community keep pace with the growing problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Professor John Reynolds, also from the University of Otago, Dunedin, will use his Explorer Grant to demonstrate the effectiveness of a new drug delivery system that he and his team have designed for restoring brain function in patients with neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

Go to www.hrc.govt.nz/funding-opportunities/recipients to read lay summaries of each researchers’ project.

1 See www.who.int/drugresistance/documents/surveillancereport/en for the WHO report.

-Ends-

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Prefu Roundup: Forecasts Revised, Surplus Intact

The National government heads into the election with its Budget surplus target broadly intact, delivering a set of economic and fiscal forecasts marginally revised from May to reflect weaker commodity prices and a lower tax take. More>>

ALSO:

Convention Centre: Major New SkyCity Hotel And Laneway For Auckland

Today SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited revealed plans to build a new hotel and pedestrian laneway of bars, restaurants and boutique shopping on land it owns in the Nelson and Hobson Streets block, expanding the SKYCITY Entertainment Precinct. More>>

ALSO:

Igniting The Spark: Bringing The Digital Enabler To Life

Changing a name is, relatively speaking, the easy part of a re-invention. Changing a culture, getting all the ducks in a row, turning yourself inside-out to become customer-inspired is a much bigger challenge. More>>

ALSO:

Ebola And NZ: Targeted Screening At Airport But Risk Low

The risk of any cases of Ebola in New Zealand remains very low, but health and border authorities are well prepared... anyone arriving in New Zealand who in the last three weeks has visited countries affected will be screened for symptoms of the disease. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Brewer Seeking Crowd-Funding Cancels Shareholders’ Dividends

Shareholders in Renaissance Brewing company, the first business to seek equity through crowd-funding in New Zealand, have cancelled their claim on $147,000 of accumulated earnings “to make Renaissance a more attractive investment opportunity.” More>>

ALSO:

It's Spark Now:
Why Telecom Wanted To Change

New Zealand led the world when Chorus demerged from Telecom. It gave us a telecommunications industry structure where the network is completely separated from the products and services it delivers. The changes brought about a new market dynamic and it dramatically changed Telecom’s role. More>>

ALSO:

Glass Half Empty: Dairy Prices Fall To Lowest Since 2012

Dairy product prices slumped to the lowest level since October 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, paced by whole milk powder and cheddar. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news