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Germ warfare: Young researchers seeking answers to diverse microbe threats

By Andi Horvath

Two young science researchers discuss their investigations of microbes that threaten, respectively, human health and our food supply. We chat with Claire Gorrie about aspects of the drug-resistant bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae, and how it's implicated in serious infections. And Rebecca Vandegeer tells us how the Barley Yellow Dwarf virus strips our wheat crops of their defences, posing a threat to food security.

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DR ANDI HORVATH
Microbes, bacteria and viruses. They rule the earth. They dictate the condition of soils, plants and animals. I'm Dr Andi Horvath. Thanks for joining us. Our two guests today are PhD scholars who are researching significant microbes. One, a bacterium that can cause serious and even life threatening infections and the other, a virus that affects our cereal crops. In a while, we'll meet Rebecca Vandegeer who is investigating how wheat plants respond to the Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus and how climate change will alter the wheat's defence system. But first, we get to meet PhD scholar Claire Gorrie. She's exploring aspects of the drug resistant bacteria called Klebsiella Pneumoniae. It's responsible for a range of serious infections. Some can even be fatal. Many bacteria have now become drug resistant which is a problem especially for hospitals. Claire is from the Centre of Systems Genomics at the University of Melbourne. Claire, welcome to Up Close.

CLAIRE GORRIE
Hi.

DR ANDI HORVATH
Claire, introduce us to the bacteria Klebsiella Pneumoniae.

CLAIRE GORRIE
Klebsiella Pneumoniae is a bacteria that's found basically in many, many places throughout...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.