Erin Brazel

Dr Erin Brazel

Postdoctoral Research Associate

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Dr Erin Brazel is a postdoctoral researcher based at the University of Adelaide's Research Centre for Infectious Diseases. Dr Brazel's research is focused on developing novel prevention and treatment strategies against bacterial pathogens.

Dr Erin Brazel has a background in molecular and translational microbiology, with a focus on developing new ways of preventing and treating bacterial diseases.

With antibiotic resistant superbugs projected to kill 10 million people each year by 2050, new ways of combatting disease are urgently required. A major focus of Dr Brazel's research is the development of new vaccines to address emerging and existing pathogens that threaten global health and biosecurity. Vaccines are an important tool for reducing disease caused by antimicrobial resistant pathogens, the spread of resistant bacteria, and to reduce antimicrobial use in health and animal care. Since 2019, Dr Brazel has worked closely with the R&D team at GPN Vaccines Ltd in the development of a whole cell pneumococcal vaccine. This serotype-independent vaccine aims to address the major shortcomings of the currently used vaccines, including the serotype selection and high cost of manufacture. Dr Brazel has contributed to the design and preclinical testing of many next generation vaccine candidates, including the current lead candidate (Gamma-PN3), which is capable of providing improved immunogenicity and has favourable properties for large-scale manufacture. This vaccine is currently being tested in a first-in-human Phase 1 clinical trial (commenced January 2023).

The Advertiser article on new vaccine

 

Dr Brazel now leads the exploratory and discovery research focused on the design, IP development, and preclinical evaluation of new vaccines, spanning both human and animal health. One of these new vaccines currently at the early stages of development aims to target bacteria that cause ear infections in children and acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This research was recently featured on Nine News Adelaide and ABC News Adelaide.

 

First steps towards a new vaccine for childhood ear infections image of Dr Erin Brazel and Carla Gallasch

Dr Brazel's research also investigates new strategies to treat bacterial infections. A key focus of her early research was the study of the impact of zinc, both nutritional and as a therapeutic, against bacterial pathogens. This work has provided fundamental insight into the broad impacts of zinc on bacteria and identified a novel drug repurposing strategy to treat resistant bacteria. This approach used a drug originally developed as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease to restore the susceptibility of bacteria to antibiotics, thereby breaking antimicrobial resistance. These findings have the potential to extend the shelf life of commonly used antibiotics against resistant bacteria or reduce the amount of antibiotics needed to treat an infeciton.

Researchers discover a new approach to breaking bacterial antibiotic resistance and rescue frontline drug treatments

 

Dr Brazel contributes to fundamental research on bacteria, in particular on the major pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. By combining her microbiology and biochemistry expertise, Dr Brazel investigates pneumococcal virulence and metabolism, with a particular interest in the function of bacterial membrane proteins and enzymes. Her research aims to define the mechanisms underlying bacterial behaviour in the host environment and the adaptation of pneumococci to specific host sites. In 2021, Dr Brazel was awarded a Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation grant to explore how these bacteria signal to and communicate with neighbouring bacteria and the host. Together, this research aims to contribute to the understanding of pneumococal biology and ultimately exploit these pathways as new treatment strategies.

 

Expanding the toolkit for the treatment of ear infections

 

Dr Brazel is passionate about translating research findings from the laboratory bench into commercial products that can have a positive impact on patients and public health. In 2022, Dr Brazel was awarded the QUT Bridge Pitch Competition ($10,000) for her medical innovation presentation and a Bridge Industry Fellowship ($10,000). In this fellowship, Dr Brazel gained experience working with GPN Vaccines on business strategy and IP development for new vaccines.

Global fellowship, Applause 22

 

  • National Industry PhD Program Funding, Industry Linked PhD Stream (2023), "Developing a novel cross-protective, inactivated vaccine against non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae" - $66,240
  • Project Lead, Industry Sponsored Research (2023), - $110,838
  • REDI Bridge Industry Fellowship (2022), - $10,000
  • School of Biological Sciences EMCR Association Small Grant Scheme (2022). "Structural studies of the Streptococcus pneumoniae sugar uptake protein FruA" - $1,000
  • QUT/MTPConnect Bridge Program Pitch Competition (2022) - $10,000
  • School of Biological Sciences EMCR Association Small Grant Scheme (2021). "A metabolite screening approach to uncover new Streptococcus pneumoniae treatments" - $1,000
  • CI, Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation Grant (2021), "Expanding the toolkit for the treatment of ear infections" - $40,000

 

 

Academic Mentor, Principles and Practices of Research (Advanced) II (SCIENCE 2300), 2022

Supervisor, Principles and Practices of Research (Advanced) III (SCIENCE 3100), 2022-Current

Lecturer, Infection and Immunity IIIA (MICRO 3000, MICRO 3007, MICRO 3102), 2022-Current
- Nutrients at the host-pathogen interface (2 lectures/year)
- Bacterial vaccines (1 lecture/year)

Practical Demonstrator, Infection and Immunity IIIA (MICRO 3000), 2016-2018

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2023 Principal Supervisor Development of a novel whole-inactivated Streptococcal vaccine Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Ms Rachel Chin
    2023 Principal Supervisor Investigating the drivers of pneumococcal pathogenesis Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Kate Patricia Whyte
    2023 Principal Supervisor Developing a novel cross-protective, inactivated vaccine against non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Carla Ruth Gallasch
    2021 Co-Supervisor Influenza A Virus Vaccine Development Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Chloe Gates
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 - 2024 Co-Supervisor Exploring Genomic, Phenotypic, and Epigenetic Characteristics of Clinical Isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Hannah Naomi Agnew
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2022 - ongoing Secretary Australian Society for Microbiology SA/NT Branch Australian Society for Microbiology Australia
    2019 - ongoing Chair Adelaide Protein Group Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Australia
    2019 - ongoing Representative Professional Development Standing Committee Australian Society for Microbiology Australia
    2019 - 2019 Representative Faculty of Sciences Gender Equity and Diversity The University of Adelaide Australia
    2019 - 2019 Secretary Adelaide Protein Group Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Australia
    2018 - ongoing Representative Australian Society for Microbiology SA/NT Branch Australian Society for Microbiology Australia
    2018 - 2019 Representative Institutional Biosafety Committee The University of Adelaide Australia
    2017 - 2018 Member Adelaide University Biosciences Network The University of Adelaide Australia
    2016 - ongoing Representative Adelaide Protein Group - Australia
  • Position: Postdoctoral Research Associate
  • Phone: 83137552
  • Email: erin.brazel@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Molecular Life Sciences, floor Fourth Floor
  • Room: 439
  • Org Unit: Molecular and Biomedical Science

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