2010 NT Young Tall Poppy of the Year

Research Field: Molecular Parasitology
Menzies School of Health Research / Queensland Institute of Medical Research

Kate’s work focuses on Sarcoptes scabiei, a little mite that causes big trouble and is more than an itchy nuisance! Infection of the skin with the scabies mite can lead to serious health problems in Australian indigenous community, with young children especially vulnerable. Crusted scabies is an extreme form of the disease and it is very infectious and difficult to treat as the mites are developing drug resistance. Kate’s research aims to better understand how drug resistance occurs by measuring responses of scabies mite to drugs, and conducting bimolecular studies on scabies mite genes involved in drug resistance.  She is using a world-first animal model of scabies to reveal specific defects that predispose people to crusted scabies which may ultimately result in new treatment strategies and improved health for disadvantaged communities.