New scholarship supports antibiotic search

Thursday 22 Jun 2017

The need for a new class of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections has inspired a Charles Sturt University (CSU) research student to secure a prestigious new scholarship from NSW Health.

Pharmacist Mrs Saina Paul is one of the first recipients of a NSW Health PhD Scholarship – a program designed to support research that is a priority for the state.  

Her research at CSU in Orange aims to characterise a potentially new antibiotic, produced by a new species of bacterium called GM1.

A graduate of the University's pharmacy program, Mrs Paul will be supervised by academics from CSU's School of Biomedical Sciences and Dr Tim Kudinha from Pathology West in Orange.

The research involves the DNA sequencing of GM1 using new DNA sequencing technologies at the Australian Genome Research Facility in Melbourne as well as CSU in Orange. The DNA sequence will then be assembled using advanced genomics software. 

Mrs Paul will also investigate the chemical structure and clinical usefulness of the potentially new antibiotic produced by GM1.

Dr Peter Anderson, a lecturer in microbiology in the School of Biomedical Sciences, said, "Saina's research starts from the perspective that there is a need for new classes of antibiotics, as many types of bacterial infections are now resistant to current antibiotics. 

"Many of us, perfectly healthy people, carry multi-drug resistant strains of bacteria that can opportunistically infect us.

"This is a really innovative research project, with the potential to have an impact on our health system in NSW."

A practising pharmacist, Mrs Paul graduated from CSU in 2013 with First Class Honours. She is due to start her Higher Degree by Research PhD training at CSU in Orange in July.

"I'm very grateful to NSW Health and Charles Sturt University for this incredible opportunity to be involved in furthering our knowledge and understanding of a potential new antibiotic in the fight against antibiotic resistance."

The three-year PhD Scholarship is a new funding program of NSW Health. CSU and NSW Health will both contribute $20 000 per annum to the scholarship over three years.


Media contact: Fiona Halloran , (02) 6933 2207

Media Note:

For interviews with Mrs Saina Paul and her CSU supervisors, contact CSU Media.

Her PhD research is entitled, A New Taxon of Antibiotic-Producing Enterobacteriaciae, GM1. The study will be supervised by Dr Peter Anderson and Dr Gregg Maynard from CSU in Orange and Dr Tim Kudinha from Pathology West in Orange.