Faculty of Science and Technology

Immunology/parasitology

Campus:Mt Helen

Discipline: Veterinary and Wildlife science

Research field: Immunology/parasitology

Supervisor (s): Dr Sarah Preston

Brief Bio:

I have a passion for research and education in the control of infectious diseases in agricultural animals and this is largely driven by my background growing up in a rural setting on a sheep/cattle farm. I received my science qualifications (B.Sci Honours) at Monash University and followed on with a PhD investigating the control of parasitic worm infections in sheep using immune markers of parasitic resistance. From 2014-2016 I worked at the Faculty of Veterinary and Agriculture Sciences at the University of Melbourne as a postdoctoral researcher in the area of drug discovery for parasitic diseases. I am now looking forward to my new career direction as a lecturer for the Bachelor of Veterinary and wildlife Sciences at Federation University whilst still pursuing research in the area of worm control for agricultural animals.

Supervisor Contact details: sj.preston@federation.edu.au

Project title: Drug discovery project for new anthelmintics against parasitic helminths

Description:

Due to major problems with drug resistance in parasitic nematodes of animals and the concern of this occurring in humans, there is a need to develop new anthelmintics via genomic-guided and/or repurposing approaches. Recently there has been a drive for public-private partnerships between academia and industry to accelerate to drug discovery pipeline. Many industries with and without philanthropic support are donating small to large chemical compound libraries to academics to screen against parasitic organisms still causing substantial economic and health burden in third world countries. This project will involve using a well-established, practical and cost-effective whole-organism assay for the in vitro-screening of compound libraries to identify novel compound with activity against parasitic stages of the nematode Haemonchus contortus. Upon identification of the active compounds, the compound’s activity will be characterised using techniques such as motility and parasite development assays and fluorescent and scanning electron microscopy.