USC research targets antibiotic-resistant infections

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USC research targets antibiotic-resistant infections

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USC Senior Research Fellow Dr Derek Sarovich in the lab on campus at Sippy Downs.

7 June 2017

A new University of the Sunshine Coast researcher is using a 2017 Advance Queensland Fellowship to develop a cheaper, faster way of diagnosing antibiotic resistance in patients, particularly those with chronic lung infections.

Dr Derek Sarovich received the $300,000 Queensland Government fellowship for his three-year project that will involve collaboration with the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH), QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and USC colleagues Dr Erin Price and Professor Peter Timms.

Dr Sarovich, who is an expert in molecular and microbial genetics, said his work aimed to help doctors at clinics and hospitals across the world fight the threat of antibiotic-resistant infections by examining how bacteria evolved resistance in chronic lung infections.

Watch the video of Dr Sarovich discussing his research.

“My goals are to develop a novel diagnostic tool that is cheaper, faster and less laborious than current methods, and to better understand why some patients with chronic lung disease don’t respond successfully to treatment,” he said.

“The new test will assist doctors to identify the most effective treatments for very ill people.”

He said current diagnostic methods took between 24 and 72 hours to determine antibiotic resistance, but his new test would provide results in just one to two hours.

“The long-term goal of my project is to change the way antibiotic resistance is diagnosed in Queensland hospitals and eventually change the way this is done internationally.”

Dr Sarovich welcomed the fellowship, which was presented to USC by Deputy Premier Jackie Trad at a ceremony in Brisbane earlier this year.

“I’m very happy to receive this award and move back to Queensland from Darwin,” he said.

“Living on the Sunshine Coast is great, and I’m pleased to join USC which has really grown into a prominent institution in South-East Queensland.

“These partnerships are exciting. QIMR Berghofer is a well-established research institution and I hope to foster close collaboration between USC and SCUH to increase the impact and successful translation of our research.”

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Roland De Marco said the prestigious mid-career fellowship for Dr Sarovich was a fantastic achievement, and essential for building medical research capacity in the region.

Julie Schomberg

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