Faces of CO-ADD: interview with PhD student Angie Jarrad in Brisbane

Angie Jarrad is a PhD student at The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience. Her PhD research is focused on developing novel antibiotics to fight anaerobic bacteria and won the 2015 Women in Technology PhD Career Start award.

She has screened over 150 compounds with CO-ADD, and explains how CO-ADD can contribute to a PhD student's research:

•        What is your research about?

My research is currently focused on the development of antibacterial and antiparasitic agents against gut pathogens including Clostridium difficile, Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica.   

•        What sort of compounds are you screening for antimicrobial activity with CO-ADD?

I have tested small organic molecules that have been designed to inhibit the growth of bugs with anaerobic metabolism (ie that grow with reduced or no oxygen).

I have also tested synthetic intermediates and compounds that were inactive against the organisms that we were initially targeting, thereby getting more mileage out of my chemistry.

•        How could CO-ADD contribute to your research?

Active compounds identified by CO-ADD can lead to exciting new research directions, provide an opportunity to expand upon my knowledge base and lead to publications- all while helping to find the next antibiotic!

Even when compounds are found to be inactive against the CO-ADD screening panel, this can still be a useful finding. The compounds’ spectra of action is better understood, particularly when they are found to be potent and selective against other organisms. We also learn more about the types of molecules that have antibacterial activity.

•        How can chemistry fight the war on superbugs and help find the next antibiotic?

Many important scientific breakthroughs are discovered by serendipity, but to quote Louis Pasteur, “Chance favours the prepared mind.” We must cast a wide net in our search for the next antibiotic. Chemists that have made molecules for different purposes can contribute to the fight against superbugs by sending compounds to CO-ADD.

•        What's next for you?

I am passionate about and committed to the fight against superbugs. I am looking forward to finishing my PhD and continuing the fight against superbugs as a postdoctoral researcher.

•        Anything else you would like to add?
I have been impressed with the turn around time for the CO-ADD screening. The results can easily be incorporated into publications and my thesis.

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