Meet the microbiologists

The Joint Academic Microbiology Seminars team is excited to introduce a brand new, microbiology-themed series of podcasts called Getting to Know Your Friendly Neighbourhood Microbiologist. Join researchers on a microscopic journey with host Dr. Lucie Semenec, producer Dr. Amy Cain from Macquarie University and social media producer Dr. Hugh Goold as they interview a range of microbiologists to celebrate National Science Week.

In the JAMSpod, listeners will explore questions like: who are the researchers behind the microscope that society is placing their trust in understanding the new coronavirus and other widespread diseases? Where are the places to search for drugs and what are the challenges of vaccine and drug discovery and development? How are they trying to improve our lives, from health to environment, with their research?

National leaders in microbiology will share insights about their research, discuss establishing a career and issues they’ve faced. Scientists in different microbiology fields will share how have they been impacted by COVID19 – whether it’s helped or hindered their careers in infection and microbiology.

Questions from the public will also be addressed, and can be submitted via the online JAMS Twitter feed.

Guests will include those on the frontline of COVID-19 clinical infectious disease and viral control such as viral expert Dr. Tim Newsome (University of Sydney) and Prof. Liz Harry (the ithree Institute, University of Technology Sydney) who does antimicrobial drug discovery within the natural product space (think manuka honey) and Willa Huston who tackles nasty sexually-transmitted diseases (the ithree Institute, University of Technology Sydney). 

The JAMSpod will also be talking to local microbiome pioneers, like Prof. Michael Gillings (Macquarie University) and Dr. Brendan Burns (Deputy Director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, University of New South Wales) about how studying microorganisms in the gut and in the environment can help us combat environmental disasters and a range of diseases.

Other guests to be interviewed will include Prof. Ian Paulsen (Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology), who creates sci-fi style “neo-biochemistry” of Frankenstein-bugs for industrial purposes, as well as fungal expert Prof. Dee Carter (University of Sydney) who looks at persistent fungal Cryptococcus infections.

Beyond research in their respective fields, the JAMSpod will reveal how these microbiology superstars got to where they are now and what their day to day life as a scientist is like.

About JAMS

Run conjointly between Macquarie University, Western Sydney University, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the Joint Academic Microbiology Seminars (JAMS) is a microbiology society started in 2011 as a hub for microbiological discussion in an informal, social and inclusive setting. Its mission is to spread microbiology knowledge far and wide!

Image and guest post by Dr Amy Cain. The JAMSpod series is supported by Inspiring Australia NSW as part of National Science Week.