Dr Nicole Bzdyl was awarded the inaugural Shellam Fund for Research in Microbiology

01/11/2022 | 2 mins

Professor Shellam (1943-2015) was well respected internationally for his significant work in infectious diseases, microbiology and pathology. 

The Shellam and Stanley Family, together with friends and colleagues of the late Professor Shellam, established the Shellam Fund for Research in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases to acknowledge Professor Shellam’s passion for basic research and tertiary education.

He was a strong advocate for the Masters of Infectious Diseases program, allowing students from all over the word to study at UWA with the aim of equipping them to contribute to the international understanding and management of existing and emerging infectious diseases.

Dr Nicole Bzdyl was awarded the inaugural Shellam Fund for Research in Microbiology. 

Currently at the Marshall Centre for Infectious Diseases Research and Training, she works to understand how dangerous bacteria cause disease and develop new drug therapies to treat untreatable antibiotic-resistant infections. 

Through this award, Dr Bzdyl will be sent to Macquarie University in New South Wales to Dr Amy Cain’s laboratory to learn how to use and develop infection models with Galleria Mellonella, or the Greater Wax moth. 

Macquarie University has Australia’s first and only dedicated Galleria Research facilities.

Dr Nicole Bzdyl (centre) with special guests Margaret Harper (left) and Georgina Harper (right)

The larvae of G.mellonella are highly susceptible to bacterial infections and have been used to not only understand how bacteria cause disease but also use in drug development studies. 

With its larval stage, G.mellonella has shown to be an ethical and cost-effective substitute to mice in the study of how bacteria cause disease as well as in novel drug development. 

Learning how to correctly handle G.mellonella and develop infection models is essential for robust scientific data, with the aim to conduct these within the facilities at the Marshall Centre and at the University of Western Australia.  

Through the Shellam Small Grant fund, Dr Bzdyl hopes to reduce the scientific reliance on animal studies, such as mice.

"Our whole family is very pleased to learn of Dr Bzdyl's work and to see this acknowledgment of Geoff's contribution" said Professor Fiona Stanley, 

"We were delighted that Geoff's sister Margaret and niece Georgina were able to represent the family at this year's presentation, but my daughters and I hope that we can join future presentations of the annual award in Geoff's memory. We also look forward to hearing the results of Dr Bzdyl's project." 

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