USC scientist selected for AusTrade mission to Brazil - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

USC News

USC scientist selected for AusTrade mission to Brazil

7 Apr 2016

A University of the Sunshine Coast scientist who is developing tests to diagnose the mosquito-borne Zika virus and other viruses will be part of a special research delegation to travel to Brazil and Colombia next week.

Senior Lecturer in Molecular Engineering Dr Joanne Macdonald was selected as one of 14 Australian researchers to attend the Tropical Medicine Mission 2016 run by the Australian Government’s trade commission, AusTrade.

The 10-day mission from 11 April aims to create international partnerships to combat tropical diseases in Latin America, at a time when Zika virus is in the world spotlight.

Dr Macdonald and other delegates will attend workshops with scientists from Brazil’s two largest medical research institutions, as well as meetings with representatives from the Tropical Medicine Institute of Colombia.

Dr Macdonald said she hoped to speak with local researchers about introducing improved diagnostic tests to help track and treat tropical diseases in South America.

“I think some of the technology and processes we’ve developed could be very valuable in those countries where viruses like Zika and malaria are common,” she said.

“While a drug or a vaccine might be highly useful, if we don’t know where a disease is or if we can’t detect it rapidly, we can’t deploy drugs and vaccines effectively.

“I’m interested to find out what the local needs are and how we could adapt the technology to those individual circumstances.”

In 2015, Dr Macdonald received a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to develop a world-first rapid test kit for pathogens in mosquitoes, with a particular focus on malaria.

She said while the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil was currently making international headlines, the country was also battling diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya.

“This mission is an opportunity to open some doors to utilising our technology to benefit Brazil’s huge population,” she said.

— Gen Kennedy

Senior Lecturer in Molecular Engineering Dr Joanne Macdonald.

Related articles

USC joins $9m global sustainability research program
9 Jul

USC researchers on the Sunshine Coast and in Sweden are taking part in an A$9.2million international program to transform communication of environmental and sustainability issues, such as climate change.

New research centre to harness strengths across cultures
6 Jul

Australians may be facing restrictions on travel, but the opportunity to learn from all cultures is already on our doorstep, say the leaders of a new research group at USC Australia.

Researchers study drivers’ responses to suspension of random breath testing
23 Jun

Road safety researchers at USC Australia are keen to find out how driver behaviours changed during a temporary suspension of static roadside random breath testing (RBT) by the Queensland Police Service during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Contact the USC media team

Name Position Email Phone
Terry Walsh Manager, Media and Messaging +61 7 5430 1160
Janelle Kirkland Media Relations Coordinator +61 7 5459 4553
Clare McKay Media Relations Officer (Regional) +61 7 5456 5669

Search results for

Recent news