2015 PhD Scholarship Top Up Recipients
Mejbah Uddin Bhuiyan
Pneumonia is the leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality globally. Many of the pathogens found in children with pneumonia are identified in children without respiratory symptoms, making it difficult to assess the contribution of each pathogen to pneumonia. We propose to conduct a study where we will determine the presence of viruses and bacteria in the respiratory tract of children with pneumonia and compare them with children without respiratory symptoms to identify the relative contribution of specific pathogens in childhood pneumonia. Data of this this study would be useful to prioritize the development of effective treatment and preventive strategies for childhood pneumonia.
Camilla de Gier
Middle ear infection is the most common reason for a child to receive antibiotics and undergo surgery. Indigenous Australian children have the highest rates of ear disease in the world, which impacts on hearing, speech development and educational outcomes. There is currently no adequate vaccine.
Our preliminary data indicate that Haemophilus haemolyticus, a harmless bacterium found in the respiratory tract of humans, may be used to prevent ear disease from the predominant cause of ear infections. This project will investigate the potential for development of H. haemolyticus as a bacterial therapy to prevent ear disease.
Rachael's PhD focuses on young children with recurrent ear infections. She is investigating all of the bacteria living in the middle ear and at the back of the nose in these children and comparing them to the bacteria in healthy kids who haven't had recurrent ear infections.
If she finds differences between these bacterial communities, this may highlight some bacteria involved in ear infections that we didn't know about before. Rachael is also looking for good bacteria in the healthy kids that might be protecting them from getting recurrent ear infections. These good bacteria could be translated into a probiotic therapy in the future to prevent recurrent ear infections in children that are at risk.
The 2015 PhD Top-Up Scholarship Recipients with their supervisors. From left to right, and front to back: Dr Ruth Thornton (Camilla's supervisor), Rachael Lappan (Top-up recipient), A/Prof Tom Snelling (Centre Director), Jo Williams (Wesfarmers Ltd Community Partnerships Manager), Dr Chris Blyth (Mejbah's supervisor), Camilla de Gier (Top-up recipient), Megan Keep (Development Manager), Mejbah Uddin Bhuiyan (Top-up recipient), Dr Chris Peacock (Rachael's supervisor), and Dr Anita van den Biggelaar (Centre Business Manager).