Entry for:2018 Queensland Women in STEM Prize
1. Please provide a short summary of your research, project or technology.
Bacteria are amazing tiny organisms! They are an important part of our microflora, but they can also cause disease. Some bacteria have weapons that help them infect us and allow them to overcome our immune system. These weapons are produced inside the bacteria and need to have the correct three-dimensional shape to function properly. To ensure this, there is a pathway of molecular machines that are responsible for the correct formation of bacterial weapons. My research focuses on a particular type of these machines and understanding how they work. I study these machines by using biochemical experiments and a technique called X-ray crystallography, which allows us to determine what they look like. This research could form the basis of a new antibacterial therapy but these molecular machines may also be useful in areas such as nanotechnology and synthetic biology.
2. Additional Details
Find me on twitter: @em_furlong
Scientific articles associated with my work in this area:
1. Furlong, E.J., Lo, A.W., Kurth, F., Premkumar, L., Totsika, M., Achard, M. E. S., Halili, M. A., Heras, B., Whitten, A. E., Choudhury, H. G., Schembri, M. A., and Martin, J. L. (2017) A shape-shifting redox foldase contributes to Proteus mirabilis copper resistance. Nature Communications 8: 16065.
2. Christensen, S., Groftehauge, M. K., Byriel, K., Huston, W. M., Furlong, E., Heras, B., Martin, J. L., and McMahon, R. M. (2016) Structural and Biochemical Characterization of Chlamydia trachomatis DsbA Reveals a Cysteine-Rich and Weakly Oxidising Oxidoreductase. PLoS One 11: e0168485.
3. Ireland, P.M., McMahon, R.M., Marshall, L.E., Halili, M., Furlong, E., Tay, S., Martin J.L. & Sarkar-Tyson, M. (2014) Disarming Burkholderia pseudomallei: structural and functional characterization of a disulfide oxidoreductase (DsbA) required for virulence in vivo. Antioxidants & Redox Signalling, 20(4): 606-17.