Breakthrough research in koala disease
The iconic koala is a protected species and was listed by the Australian Government in 2012 as vulnerable in Queensland. One of the factors seriously challenging koala numbers is the disease chlamydia and its resultant infertility.
USC microbiologists, Professor Peter Timms and Dr Adam Polkinghorne, have spent the past five years leading a team of collaborators towards the goal of developing a vaccine to fight this devastating disease. After a series of trials in captive animals, they have now conducted the world's first successful field trial of a vaccine against chlamydia in koalas. The vaccinated animals have shown good immune responses to the vaccine, and importantly, decreased chlamydia infection levels.
While funding from the Australian Research Council and industry partners has supported this work thus far, and will fund further basic research, if we want to get the vaccine to the next stage, and out into the field to be used by the populations most under threat, then more funds are urgently needed.
Help us protect koalas
With the initial success of this research, Professor Timms and Dr Polkinghorne are now focused on finding the funds to enable the vaccination program to continue and expand.
"We feel compelled to start using this vaccine more broadly especially when we know that it is safe and has some definite positive benefit to the animals," said Professor Timms.
While the University will continue to engage with a variety of possible funders, it is hoped that philanthropic support may also be forthcoming.
"Ideally a significant donation would see this program rolled out across a number of populations, but even funds to vaccinate individual koalas would make a difference," said Professor Timms.
With this in mind, a special fund has been established for those who would like to contribute towards the koala vaccination research project. By making a donation to support the vaccination of a koala, you will help to reduce chlamydia infection levels and improve female reproductive rates in threatened koala populations.
100% of your donation will go towards the Koala research project, and any donations over $2 are tax deductible.
For more information on donating to this project contact Mr Russell Ousley, Director, USC Development Office.
Koala news via USC
Bird bacteria linked to horse and human health
Pregnancy losses in horses have been traced to a strain of bird chlamydia by researchers from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and University of the Sunshine Coast.
Checklist to boost gender equality in science
A global snapshot of more than 200 scientific societies has confirmed that female scientists still have a long way to go in their bid for gender equality.
Plastic bag ban at heart of marine debris study
University of the Sunshine Coast researchers will track the impact of Queensland’s upcoming ban on plastic bags by monitoring the marine debris found inside dead sea life in waters off the Fraser Coast.
Marine scientists bait up for surf zone fish project
USC marine researchers are undertaking the first comprehensive study of fish species along the Sunshine Coast’s surf beaches.
Research project could lead to evolution re-think
USC researcher is working to shed new light on the role animal culture plays in the evolution of new species.
Research sheds light on mite causing wombat mange
Genetic research led by USC has scratched below the surface to find the potential origins of sarcoptic mange, a disease in wombats that is highly infectious between animals and deadly if untreated.