Dr Makrina Totsika
Queensland University of Technology
In 2014, the World Health Organisation declared antimicrobial resistance a global health priority with more than 700,000 people dying each year. Health officials warn that by 2050 this could rise to 10 million people every year – more than cancer! We urgently need new and better drugs to combat multidrug-resistant bacteria, termed ‘superbugs’. Dr Totsika has dedicated her career to this goal, studying bacteria that are now resistant to most antibiotics and cause untreatable life-threatening infections. Her work aims to understand how superbugs cause disease and design new drugs against them. Through a unique approach of disarming rather than killing superbugs, Makrina’s team are now developing a new class of drugs that can treat antibiotic-resistant infections without the failures frequently associated with antibiotics. This will revitalise antimicrobial drug development and deliver much needed therapies to society.
During her PhD, Makrina joined Researchers-in-Residence being placed in a Scottish secondary school. Later she successfully self-nominated for the Fresh Science Competition in Australia and was the 2012 Finalist for QLD. During National Science Week 2014, She gave a public lecture on superbugs and the impact of antimicrobial resistance to our society. Each year she provides an intensive 5-day research internships in her lab to high-school students.