Following bacterial ‘tyre tracks’ to fight drug resistance
Cynthia Whitchurch discovered that dangerous bacteria in biofilms follow each other like ants, or 4WD drivers following tracks in the sand. Then she showed she could create microscopic tracks on medical devices to limit the spread of the bacteria that cause infection. Based on her work, new types of catheters are being developed that are less likely to become infected.
For these and other discoveries, Associate Professor Whitchurch, a scientist at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), has been jointly awarded the David Syme Research prize for the best original research in biology, physics, chemistry or geology, produced in Australia during the preceding two years.
The other recipient is UTS physicist Associate Professor Igor Aharonovich for his discovery of new sources of photons for quantum technologies.
The prize was established with a bequest from the publisher of The Age newspaper and is administered by The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Science.
Whitchurch is one of only a handful of women to receive the prize since it was first awarded in 1906. The last was Professor Suzanne Cory, immediate past president of the Australian Academy of Sciences (1982).
Read the full story in the UTS Newsroom.