Microbes such as bacteria and single-celled parasites are responsible for a wide range of human diseases. The discovery of drugs that kill these organisms, and thereby allow us to cure many of the diseases for which they are responsible, has been a triumph of medical science. However the microbes are fighting back, developing resistance to many of the drugs that we have come to rely on for disease control. This presentation looks at how new drugs are developed, how they work, and how the microorganisms fight back, drawing on their genetic resources to evade the killing effects of the drugs.
From the Australian Academy of Science.
About the speaker
Kiaran Kirk is Dean of the Australian National University’s College of Medicine, Biology and Environment. Kiaran carried out his PhD in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Sydney from 1985 to 1988. In 1989 he went to the Oxford University Laboratory of Physiology where he held an Oxford Nuffield Medical Fellowship, the Staines Medical Research Fellowship (Exeter College) and a Lister Institute Senior Research Fellowship. He returned to Australia in 1996 to head the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the ANU Faculty of Science, holding this post until becoming Director of the newly created ANU Research School of Biology in June 2009. He took up his current role at ANU in 2014. Kiaran’s research focuses on antimalarial drugs—how they kill the malaria parasite, and how the parasite becomes resistant to them.