Queensland University of Technology
Molecular Microbiology, Marsupial Immunology
The koala is an iconic Australian animal but it is increasingly threatened by the combined factors of habitat loss and debilitating infectious diseases. Dr Polkinghorne’s research involves characterising the genome of the koala, a major achievement in itself, helping to unravel the biological information that makes koalas unique. Analysis of this genome has already provided insights into the nature of koala immune systems, allowing monitoring of the response of the system to the progression of disease. His work has proven a substantive advance in the diagnosis and treatment of crippling diseases leading to better conservation in the future.
Adam has actively promoted the outcomes of his work and its broader implications through mainstream media, both in print and radio such as Radio National, and also contributed to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to reach more people. Adam works with the Scientists in Schools program teaching Microbiology to Year 12 students and lectures with “Classes for Seniors” to help communicate his work to other interested groups.