Every year, IHBI, bluebox and QUT’s Division of Research and Commercialisation sponsor three early- to mid-career researchers to attend the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO) conference in the USA. This year, Dr Melissa Fernandez, Dr Roland Steck and Dr Eliza Whiteside have been selected as the 2013 BIO Fellows. Today we will meet Dr Melissa Fernandez.
Dr Melissa Fernandez is an early career researcher within the Wound Management Innovation Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). Her research interests are in biochemistry, proteomics, metabolomics as well as wound healing. Dr Fernandez’s postgraduate training focused on using a proteomic and metabolomic approach to identify prognostic and diagnostic indicators of wound healing. During this time, she received a Queensland Smart State PhD scholarship to support her work. Currently, Melissa is a postdoctoral researcher focusing on the development and of novel treatments for patients suffering from chronic, non-healing wounds. During this work, she has discovered that uric acid is elevated in wound fluid from patients with chronic venous leg ulcers and correlates with wound severity. Using this knowledge, Melissa has developed a novel wound therapy, which is about to be trialed in patients, using the topical application of allopurinol, a cheap, off patent and registered drug product. If successful, this topical treatment with allopurinol will prevent sustained inflammation and stimulate wound repair, thus reducing the duration of compression therapy.
BIO is the largest biotechnology conference in the world, with approximately 16,500 attendees expected to attend this year’s event in Chicago. Along with a feature-packed conference program, BIO also offers a one-on-one BIO Business Forum and an exhibition hall with over 1,600 companies showcasing their latest products and technologies. BIO covers the complete spectrum of life sciences areas and biotechnology applications. From drug discovery to biomanufacturing, genomics to biofuels, cell therapy to nanotechnology – BIO has it covered.