Katharina Richter

Dr Katharina Richter

NHMRC Early Career Fellow

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

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


Dr Katharina Richter is a biomedical researcher with global work stints in Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium and Australia. A trained pharmacist she completed her PhD in medicine/applied microbiology in 2017 and founded her own research group in 2019 at the University of Adelaide.
Katharina has won numerous awards for excellence in science, innovation and science communication, including Innovator Under 35 Asia-Pacific, SA Science Excellence Award for PhD Researcher of the Year, SA Young Tall Poppy Science Award, Women in Innovation Award and many more.

Superbugs, or antibiotic-resistant bacteria, pose one of the greatest threats to human health worldwide, claiming 700,000 deaths every year. Bacteria naturally reside in biofilms as complex communities encased in a self-assembled slime. This lifestyle protects bacteria from medical therapies and promotes resistance contributing to therapeutic failure and exacerbation. The rise of superbugs stresses the need for novel treatments.

The Richter Lab is dedicated to improve medical therapies, changing the lives of patients suffering from superbug infections, such as surgical site infections, non-healing wounds and implant infections.
We furthermore collaborate with veterinary scientists to innovate industry decontamination processes for better animal wellbeing and safer, more sustainable food production.

Our research focus is on i) developing effective treatments against antibiotic-resistant bacteria and translating them from the lab to real-life applications, and ii) improving health literacy of the society by effective science communication through public speaking, science outreach activities and STEM workshops at schools.
We collaborate widely in multidisciplinary teams of scientists, clinicians and industry partners to ensure a real-world impact of our work.

Available projects for HDR, Honours and 3rd Year students in 2022 include:
-advanced drug delivery platforms for Golden Staph infections
-plasma-activated water as an effective, eco-friendly antibacterial treatment for clinical and veterinary use
-advanced mesh materials to improve outcomes of hernia surgery
-cannabinoid derivatives as antibiofilm treatment

Deadly Slime- A choose-your-own-adventure animated experience

Dive into the slimy world of supervillain superbugs in Deadly Slime - A choose-your-own-adventure animated experience.

Dr Katharina Richter and Animate Your Science turned the true story of a flesh-eating superbug-infection into an interactive adventure, promoting health education and life-saving research from the University of Adelaide.

This free, “learning by playing” experience offered science by stealth and was followed by a webinar explaining the science behind the scenes, improving health literacy of the general public.

2018 marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of Howard Florey and we’re proud to say his journey in health began at the University of Adelaide. His discovery of penicillin has saved over 200 million lives, and is considered one of the greatest medical advances of all time.
Today, Howard Florey's legacy continues to inspire our present generation of leaders in medical research, like Dr Katharina Richter who develops novel antibacterial treatments to halt the global rise of ‘superbugs’.

Public speaker and organiser of science outreach events, such as the Pint of Science festival.

Channel 9 interview of Dr Katharina Richter and Dr Tullio Rossi from Animate Your Science.

Toxic snack kills superbugs!! Featured in the kids' TV show Scope, season 4, episode 57, In Case of Emergency.

Channel 9 News footage

ABC News story

South Australia-coordinator of the Pint of Science festival

Researcher at the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2020 - 2021 NHMRC CJ Martin Overseas Fellow Gent University
    2019 Head of Richter Lab University of Adelaide
    2019 - 2022 NHMRC Early Career Fellow University of Adelaide
    2018 - 2018 Beacon Early Career Fellow University of Adelaide
    2017 - 2018 Postdoctoral Researcher University of Adelaide, Adelaide
    2017 - 2017 Postdoctoral Researcher (casual) University of South Australia, Adelaide
    2015 South Australia coordinator of the Pint of Science Festival Pint of Science (non-profit organisation)
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2021 Award Woman of the Year Awards finalist, category Innovator The Advertiser-Sunday Mail Australia
    2021 Award Best Science Outreach Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, University of Adelaide Australia 700
    2020 Award Jim Pittard Award (Early Career Researcher of the year) Australian Society for Microbiology Australia 1000
    2020 Award Best Science Outreach Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, University of Adelaide Australia 500
    2019 Award Engagement Prize 2019 BLiSS Adelaide symposium Australia
    2019 Award Winnovation award in Science Women in Innovation Australia Australia
    2019 Award Innovator Under 35 (Asia Pacific) MIT Technology Review Asia Pacific Singapore
    2018 Award Early Career Researcher of the Year Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide Australia
    2018 Award SA Science Excellence Award for PhD Research Excellence University of Adelaide Australia 10000
    2018 Award Tall Poppy Award Australian Institute of Policy and Science Australia
    2018 Award Ross Wishart Memorial Award Australian Society for Medical Research Australia 1000
    2018 Award Winner Delegates' Choice Award in the Pitch it Clever Competition Universities Australia Australia 1500
    2018 Invitation Conference Attendance Grant Universities Australia Australia 2500
    2017 Achievement Winner of Fresh Science SA (Best ECR Science Communicator) Science in Public Australia
    2017 Distinction Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence University of Adelaide Australia
    2017 Award Conference Attendance Grant European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Netherlands 1000
    2017 Award Research Travel Award Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide Australia 1000
    2017 Achievement Channel 9 Young Achiever of the Year Award 2017 Australia
    2016 Award People’s Choice Winner of the 3 Minute Thesis Competition Australia 1000
    2016 Scholarship Trevor Prescott Memorial Scholarship Freemasons Foundation Australia 6000
    2016 Award Northern Communities Health Foundation Award Australia 500
    2016 Award Winner Best 3 Minute Thesis Presentation Australian Society for Microbiology Australia 100
    2016 Award International Research Travel Award Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide Australia 3000
    2016 Award Conference Attendance Grant European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Belgium 500
    2016 Award Student Award Australian Society for Microbiology Australia 1000
    2016 Scholarship The Hospital Research Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship The Hospital Research Foundation Australia 13500
    2016 Achievement Channel 9 Young Achiever of the Year Award 2016 Australia
    2016 Scholarship Research Abroad Scholarship University of Adelaide Australia 2500
    2015 Award Winner Best Lay Description The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Research Day Australia 300
    2015 Fellowship D R Stranks Travelling Fellowship University of Adelaide Australia 2500
    2015 Award International Travel Award The Hospital Research Foundation Australia 2500
    2015 Scholarship Bertha Sudholz Research Scholarship University of Adelaide Australia 5000
    2014 Award Winner Best Oral Presentation The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Research Day Australia 1000
    2014 Scholarship The Hospital Research Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship The Hospital Research Foundation Australia 13000
    2011 Distinction First Class Honours University of Otago New Zealand
    2010 Award International Travel Award Bavarian State Government/Pharmacy Guild Germany 2500
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    French Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
    German Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    Italian Can read and understand spoken
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2014 - 2017 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia Doctor of Philosophy (with distinction), PhD in Medical Sciences
    2011 University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany Master of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
    2011 University of Otago New Zealand First Class Honours in Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Research Interests

  • Chief investigator A (CIA) of NHMRC Ideas Grant, $ 1,000,000 (2021-2025)
  • CIA of NHMRC CJ Martin Early Career Fellowship, $ 420,000 (2019-2022)
  • CIA of The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) research grant, $ 240,000 (2019-2022)
  • CIA of research grant/THRF, $ 130,000 (2020-2021)
  • CIA of community grant/Inspiring Australia, $ 5,000 (2020)
  • CIA of patent support/Adelaide Enterprise, $ 6,000 (2020)
  • CIA of Beacon Fellowship/University of Adelaide, $ 120,000 (2018)
  • CIA of research grant/THRF, $ 25,000 (2018)
  • CIA of global engagement grant/University of Adelaide, $ 3,800 (2018)
  • CIA of externally funded PhD scholarship, $ 80,000 (2014-2017)
  • CIC of Commercial Accelerator Grant/Adelaide Enterprise, $ 60,000; co-funding by THRF, $ 60,000; in kinds by an industry partner, $ 40,000 (2018)
  • CIC of equipment grant/University of Adelaide, $ 98,000 (2018)
  • CIC of equipment grant/Sansom Institute, $ 12,000 (2018)
  • Co-investigator (CoI) of Catalyst Fund/UniSA Ventures, $ 75,000 (2017-2018)
  • CoI of patent support/UniSA Ventures, $ 6,000 (2017)
  • Associate investigator (AI) of Research Infrastructure Fund/TechInSA, $ 37,500 (2017)
  • AI of research grant/China-Australia Centre for Health Research, $ 10,000 (2017)
  • 9 travel grants, total $ 26,500

2020

  • Guest lecturer for undergraduate students at Gent University/Belgium, Philosophy, methodology and integrity in pharmaceutical research

2019

  • Guest lecturer for the German Day Out, University of Adelaide for Year 10-12 students from various Adelaide high schools
  • Guest lecturer for undergraduate students at The University of Adelaide, Winter School course Communicating Science
  • Supervisor & demonstrator for undergraduate students at The University of Adelaide, 3rd year research placement course (Adelaide Medical School)

2018

  • Supervisor & demonstrator for undergraduate students at The University of Adelaide, 3rd year research placement course (Adelaide Medical School)

2017

  • Guest lecturer for undergraduate students at The University of Adelaide, Infection and Immunity 3rd year course

2016

  • Guest lecturer for undergraduate students at The University of Adelaide, Infection and Immunity 3rd year course

2014

  • Demonstrator for undergraduate students at the University of South Australia, Physical Pharmacy 2nd year course 

2010

  • Tutor for MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry at the University of Otago, New Zealand

2007-2009

  • Tutor for Chemical Nomenclature at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
Date Course Title Institution Course Level/ Code URL
         
         
         
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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 Co-Supervisor Mechanisms of persistence, reactivation and eradication of Staphylococci in orthopaedic infections Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Anja Ruth Zelmer
    2019 Principal Supervisor Novel Treatments with Antibacterial and Wound-healing Properties Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Mrs Laurine Dorothea Kaul
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Understanding PPARg-Ligand Interactions to Treat Type 2 Diabetes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rebecca Louise Frkic
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2020 Principal Supervisor Novel strategies against biofilms University of Adelaide Summer School Research Project Other Full Time Kiera Lowe
    2019 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Disrupting bacterial water channels to prevent S. aureus biofilm formation University of Adelaide Honours Full Time Zein Amro
    2018 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Novel treatment for invasive infections The University of Adelaide Honours Full Time Ashley Twigger
    2017 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Boosting antibiotic activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria The University of Adelaide Summer Vacation Research Projects Other Full Time Emily Hammond
    2017 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Boosting antibiotic activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria The University of Adelaide Summer Vacation Research Projects Other Full Time Lauren Footner
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  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2019 - ongoing Member Faculty Research Committee Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide Australia
    2018 - ongoing Co-Chair Australian Society for Microbiology, SA/NT Branch University of Adelaide Australia
    2018 - ongoing Chair Faculty Seminar Series Organising Committee University of Adelaide Australia
    2017 - ongoing Board Member Organising committee of the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Australasian Pharmaceutical Science Association Australasian Pharmaceutical Science Association Australia
    2017 - ongoing Co-Chair Organising committee of the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Australian Society for Microbiology Australian Society for Microbiology Australia
    2016 - ongoing Board Member Australian Society for Microbiology, SA/NT Branch Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2021 - ongoing Member Healthy Development Adelaide Australia
    2017 - ongoing Member Australian Society of Antimicrobials Australia
    2015 - ongoing Member European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Switzerland
    2015 - ongoing Member American Society for Microbiology United States
    2014 - ongoing Member American Rhinologic Society
    2014 - ongoing Member Australian Society for Microbiology Australia
    2010 - ongoing Member German Pharmaceutical Society Germany
  • Community Engagement

    Date Title Engagement Type Institution Country
    2020 - ongoing Educational game designer & Public speaker Public Community Engagement National Science Week event "Deadly Slime" Australia
    2020 - ongoing TV Role model for science Public Community Engagement Hard Quiz on ABC (Series 5, Episode 17) Australia
    2018 - ongoing Presenter for an episode of Network 10’s children’s science show Scope Scientific Community Engagement University of Adelaide Australia
    2018 - ongoing Newsletter article in The Hospital Research Foundation Newsletter Public Community Engagement University of Adelaide Australia
    2018 - ongoing Nationwide TV footage on Channel 9 News Public Community Engagement University of Adelaide Australia
    2017 - ongoing Newsletter article in The Hospital Research Foundation Newsletter Scientific Community Engagement University of Adelaide Australia
    2017 - ongoing Invited public speaker at a fund-raising event by The Hospital Research Foundation Public Community Engagement University of Adelaide Australia
    2016 - ongoing Outreach article published in Lumen, the University of Adelaide Alumni Magazine Scientific Community Engagement University of Adelaide Australia
    2016 - ongoing Author of a popular science article in Australasian Science Scientific Community Engagement University of Adelaide Australia
    2016 - ongoing Invited public speaker at the University of the Third Age Public Community Engagement University of Adelaide Australia
    2015 - ongoing Nationwide TV footage on Channel 9 News Public Community Engagement University of Adelaide Australia
    2015 - ongoing South Australia-coordinator and team leader of the Pint of Science Festival Scientific Community Engagement University of Adelaide Australia
    2015 - ongoing Newsletter article in The Hospital Research Foundation Newsletter Scientific Community Engagement University of Adelaide Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2018 - ongoing Editor Microbiology Australia University of Adelaide Australia
    2018 - ongoing Editor Sinusitis University of Adelaide Australia
  • Position: NHMRC Early Career Fellow
  • Phone: 82228447
  • Email: katharina.richter@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: TQEH - Basil Hetzel Institute
  • Org Unit: Adelaide Medical School

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