Dr Laura McCaughey
- Lecturer in Biomolecular Sciences (Bacteriology)
Laura obtained an MSci in Forensic and Analytical Chemistry from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, in 2010.
During this degree, Laura undertook a one-year placement at GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage, UK, where she worked as an analytical chemist.
She was then awarded a Wellcome Trust PhD scholarship at the University of Glasgow. During her PhD, and her successive Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Technology in Sydney, Laura investigated the use of novel species-specific protein antibiotics, termed S-type pyocins, to kill the notoriously difficult-to-treat, and often multi-drug resistant, bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
This research involved the discovery, and mechanistic, structural and biophysical characterisation of, pyocins, and the testing of these antibiotics in animal models.
Laura’s main research interests surround ‘How do bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics?' and 'How can we identify novel approaches to antibiotic development to overcome this problem?'
Over the last ten years Laura has been actively involved in highlighting the problem of antibiotic resistance, and the interventions necessary to prevent the problem escalating further, to the public. Laura has a demonstrated ability at interpreting and conveying complex information to non-specialists and non-scientists through this active public engagement work. She has written articles & blogs, done radio interviews/podcasts and spoken at numerous public events on the topic of antibiotic resistance. She has also carried out an internship at the ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation) working on their flagship science program Catalyst and has undertaken an intensive course 'strategies in science communication', at the Australian National University, Canberra.
Laura was also project manager for Soapbox Science Sydney 2019 & 2020, and has plans to bring it to Glasgow in 2022. Soapbox Science is a large scale public science event promoting female scientist and the science that they do (https://soapboxsciencesydney.com). Laura has a creative eye and does all of the artwork, website design and video editing for Soapbox Science Sydney.
Laura was awarded the Australian Institute for Policy and Science NSW Young Tall Poppy of the Year award in 2020 in recognition for her science communication endeavours.
Laura is involved in several aspects of teaching across L1-L4 for Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular & Cellular Biology.
Professional activities & recognition
Prizes, awards & distinctions
- 2020: NSW Young Tall Poppy of the Year award (Australian Institute of Policy & Science)
- 2016: Travel grant for academic collaboration (Campus Travel)
- 2016: ComBio Early Career Researcher award (Sydney Protein Group)
- 2016: Young Investigators award (Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function)
- 2015 - 2021: Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship