Erin Brazel

Erin Brazel

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

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


Erin's research is focused on developing novel prevention and treatment strategies against bacterial pathogens.

During her PhD, Erin investigated the impact of zinc on the bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. This work provided fundamental insight into the metabolic and transcriptomic impacts of zinc stress and identified a novel drug repurposing strategy that could be exploited to restore the susceptibility of bacteria to antibiotics.

Erin continues her research on S. pneumoniae in her current role as post-doctoral researcher in the Research Centre for Infectious Diseases. By combining her microbiology and biochemistry expertise, Erin 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 clinical pneumococcal isolates to specific host sites. Erin also explores the mechanisms by which 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 target these pathways as new treatment strategies against pneumococcal infections.

Erin also has an interest in the development of new vaccines to address emerging and existing pathogens that threaten global health and biosecurity. Erin works 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. Erin brings her knowledge of fundamental S. pneumoniae biology to the team and has contributed to the invention and design of a range of next generation vaccine candidates. The current lead candidate, which is capable of providing improved immunogenicity and favourable properties for large-scale manufacture, will be tested in a first-in-human Phase I clinical trial in early 2023.

In 2022, Erin was awarded the QUT Bridge Pitch Competition ($10,000) and a Bridge Industry Fellowship ($10,000), and is gaining experience working with GPN Vaccines on business strategy and IP development.

  • 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
  • Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation Grant (2021), "Expanding the toolkit for the treatment of ear infections" - $40,000

 

 

Lecturer, Infection and Immunity IIIA (MICRO 3000, MICRO 3007, MICRO 3102), 2022

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

  • 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

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