Griffith University acknowledges research excellence at Institute for Glycomics

Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics celebrates the promotion of six of its researchers, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to research.

Associate Professor Kate Seib, Research Leader at the Institute for Glycomics, has been promoted to Professor.

“I am very excited about this promotion, and so grateful to my team, my collaborators and my mentors for all their contributions and support,” said Professor Seib.

Professor Seib’s research is focused on understanding the processes involved in host colonisation and disease, with the aim to identify therapeutic targets of mucosal pathogens including Neisseria gonorrhoeae (causes the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea, which can lead to infertility), Neisseria meningitidis (causes sepsis and meningitis), and Moraxella catarrhalis and Haemophilus influenzae (which cause middle ear infections and exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Dr Lara Herrero, Research Leader at the Institute for Glycomics, has been promoted to Principal Research Fellow and Associate Professor.

“I am grateful to receive recognition for my work and the success of myself and my team,” said Associate Professor Herrero.

Associate Professor Herrero’s research focuses on studying the glycobiology of viral diseases. Originally focused on enterovirus research, Lara’s research direction pivoted in 2004 when she contracted Ross River virus and became ill with arthralgia for over a year. Now her research is primarily focused on deciphering the mechanisms behind virus-induced arthritis and arthralgia, with particular interest in alphaviruses. During the past few years her research has examined the pathobiology of emerging mosquito-borne viruses such as chikungunya (CHIKV), dengue, Ross River (RRV) and Barmah Forest viruses.

Dr John Atack, Associate Research Leader at the Institute for Glycomics, has been promoted to Senior Research Fellow.

“It’s really nice to be recognised for all my achievements over the last few years in this way, and even nicer that so many friends and colleagues at the Institute have also been recognised,” said Dr Atack.

Dr Atack’s research interests are focused on understanding random gene regulation in human and animal bacterial pathogens, such as the Streptococci and non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), that cause a range of diseases such as middle ear infections in children, chronic lung disease in adults, and zoonotic meningitis. By understanding how these organisms use random gene expression (phase-variable genes and phasevarions) to influence pathobiology and virulence, he aims to direct and inform vaccine and treatment development against these pathogens.

Dr Christopher Day, Associate Research Leader at the Institute for Glycomics, has been promoted to Senior Research Fellow.

“This promotion is a recognition of the work I have been doing for several years,” said Dr Day.

Dr Day focuses on understanding host-pathogenic interactions reliant on carbohydrates and uses expertise in bioanalytical techniques to widely collaborate on a range of projects. His laboratory has a wide-ranging interest in bacterial toxins, including target identification and translation of toxin binding for biomedical uses. Dr Day also has a strong interest in drug repurposing, identifying novel interactions of already developed drugs to help combat infectious disease.

Dr Freda Jen, Research Scientist at the Institute for Glycomics, has been promoted to Senior Research Fellow.

“I am thankful to my supervisor, colleagues, friends, and family. This promotion is exciting. It means my achievements have been recognised and I look forward to the continued success of our research,” said Dr Jen.

Dr Jen’s primary research focus is on understanding host-pathogen interactions and virulence mechanisms of pathogenic Neisseria (i.e., Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Neisseria meningitidis), for the purpose of developing vaccines and treatments for gonococcal and meningococcal disease.

Dr Evgeny Semchenko, Research Scientist at the Institute for Glycomics, has been promoted to Research Fellow, Grade 2.

“I am grateful to receive this promotion and also highly appreciative of the diligent efforts and support of my mentor, colleagues, collaborators, funding agencies and the Institute,” said Dr Semchenko.

Dr Semchenko’s research focuses on the development of new treatments and a vaccine for Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

“I was delighted to hear the news that six of our Institute researchers have been acknowledged and honoured with these promotions,” said Institute Director, Professor Mark von Itzstein AO.

“On behalf of everyone at the Institute for Glycomics, I would like to congratulate each of them on this significant career milestone. It’s a testament to their outstanding research and commitment to the Institute’s mission to fight diseases of global impact through discovery and translational science.”

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