Researcher biography

G’day! My name is Jessamine Hazlewood and I am currently undertaking my PhD through the UQ Faculty of Medicine at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. After undertaking a Bachelor of Advanced Science at UQ and completing several research projects as an undergraduate, I fell in love with virology, which has led me to pursue my PhD research project, focusing on Zika virus. Zika virus is the etiological agent responsible for increased congenital abnormalities observed in babies in Brazil in 2016. Due to the severity of clinical presentations of Zika infection in foeti and newborns, developing pre-clinical models that recapitulate key aspects of Zika infection in humans is important in order to allow for reliable evaluation of potential Zika virus interventions. My project aims to develop a postnatal murine model to evaluate the effect of Zika infection of pregnant mothers on long-term cognitive and motor development of offspring. Due to the integral role that mosquitoes play in Zika transmission, I will also be evaluating the role that mosquito saliva has in augmenting Zika infection and dissemination. Finally, I aim to utilize murine models to reliably evaluate potential vaccine candidates and to identify viral factors that could enhance transplacental Zika transmission.

Jessamine's principal advisor is Professor Andreas Suhrbier.