The impeding antibiotic resistance crisis is arguably the greatest current threat to the world’s healthcare systems. Dr Katherine Locock’s research focuses on novel antimicrobial polymers that take inspiration from naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides (AMPs).
These peptides, which are typically produced as part of an organism’s immune system, are of particular interest because they display reduced susceptibility to the development of bacterial resistance. Katherine has been able to identify and suitably mimic the essential structural features of these AMPs using polymers, such that they retain the high potency antimicrobial effects and low human cell toxicity. This offers promising leads for the development of a new generation of antibiotics.
As well as presenting her science in public forums, Katherine is particularly passionate about increasing Indigenous youth science engagement. Via Scientists in Schools she is involved with two indigenous schools, one in Victoria and the other in the NT. She has also successfully secured scholarships and grants to support education outreach in the NT community.