Dr Irina Vetter
Institute for Molecular Bioscience,
The University of Queensland
Chronic pain affects more than 1 in 4 Australians and many currently available analgesics, are associated with significant problems, including tolerance and addiction and for many pain sufferers these are ineffective and provide little relief. Dr Vetter’s research uses toxins to improve our understanding of pain mechanisms, with the aim to develop new drugs. Many venoms and toxins are painful, and this has been instrumental for our understanding of the mechanisms involved in pain and a surprising number of toxins are very active in pain pathways. Her research will increase our understanding of the mechanisms underlying pain, and will lead to the development of new analgesics with better efficacy and less side effects, improving the lives of people suffering from chronic pain.
The nature of Irina’s research on toxins is generally of great interest as there has always been a deep interest in venomous animals. She ahs contributed to two documentaries on venom research, which were aired on international television in 2010 and 2012. She has been involved in the Queensland Brain Bee challenge. Aside from mainstream media Irina has also given public talks, Q&A sessions and utilised social media to communicate her work.