Jayde Hopkins (pictured above), a final-year student in our Bachelor of Biological Sciences degree, is pursuing her dream of becoming a microbiologist.
“Growing up I always felt connected to the natural world; to the animals, the plants, the waterways and the land,” says Jayde.
“I started studying Zoology at La Trobe, but after taking the elective subject ‘Infections and Epidemics’, I became enthralled by the rich microscopic world around us. I realised microbiology was what I wanted to do with my life.”
As part of her degree, Jayde had the opportunity to undertake a work placement at Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.
“I received a scholarship to work on the Hot North project, which aims to improve health outcomes in the tropical north. I got to work with leading researchers, learned essential laboratory skills and even co-authored my first publication. The experience was invaluable and has set me up for success in my future career.”
A future career that, she hopes, will be in infectious disease research.
“I want to make a meaningful contribution to improving health outcomes, especially for First Nations peoples.”
Jarrod Martins is a Master of Science (Microbiology) student researching how a type of bacteria could be used to better treat Streptococcal infections.
“I have had an unwavering passion for biology from a young age. While studying a Bachelor of Science I became really interested in microbiology and decided to pursue this interest in my Honours year,” says Jarrod.
Jarrod says the support and guidance from his Honours project supervisor set him up for success. “So it was an easy choice to continue my studies at La Trobe and pursue a master’s degree,” adds Jarrod.
Jarrod’s master’s project focuses on Streptococcus, a type of bacteria that can cause skin, soft tissue and raspatory tract infections. If left untreated, infections can result in severe complications, including death.
“The emergence of antibiotic-resistant Streptococcal bacteria has reduced the effectiveness of traditional treatments like antibiotics when treating these diseases,” he says. “My research is investigating if a type of bacteria, lyse Streptococcus, can be used as a ‘living antibiotic’ to combat resistance.”
When thinking about the future, Jarrod hopes to stay in academia.
“I have always been interested in scientific research but, during my time at La Trobe, I've developed an interest in teaching and helping other students achieve success.”
“I envision a future in research and inspiring the next generation of scientists.”
Olivia Gude is a student in our Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Biosciences.
“After training as a veterinary nurse, I became fascinated by animal medicine and wanted to understand how living organisms work,” Olivia says. “I chose Animal and Veterinary Bioscience at La Trobe because it was the only undergraduate course that aligned with my passion for animals and provided a pathway into a postgraduate Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.”
Olivia says that the opportunity to undertake an industry placement has been one of the highlights of her degree so far.
“Completing a placement in Tasmania gave me the chance to assist vets with all kinds of cases, from de-horning calves to removing stitches from a Tasmanian devil!” she remarks. “My placement helped me to secure part time employment and meant that I entered my third year feeling focused and determined to work hard.”
When looking to the future, Olivia’s vision is clear.
“I plan to progress into postgraduate veterinary medicine,” she says. “My goal is to work with animals to make a positive difference to their quality of life, especially in communities with less access to veterinary care.”