Entry for:2018 Queensland Women in STEM Prize
1. Please provide a short summary of your research, project or technology.
The long term survival of koalas is under threat and they need our help. Koalas suffer from two major infectious diseases. The first disease is infection with the bacteria Chlamydia, which causes eye infections (leading to blindness) and reproductive and bladder infections (leading to severe pain and infertility). Just like people, some koalas can get Chlamydia and not appear sick. Combining laboratory testing and mathematical models, I am evaluating risk factors to understand why some koalas get very sick. The second major disease is a virus, known as koala retrovirus (KoRV). KoRV appears to weaken the koala’s immune system. I have shown that Queensland koalas with type B KoRV are much more likely to develop chlamydial disease and cancer. I also learned the most common way KoRV was being spread was from mother to joey. This new information is a huge step forward in managing disease in the wild.
Dr Quigley brings a range of experience from both human and animal health fields to study what factors are important contributors to koala health. Her work incorporates several facets of koala life...