Catrina Olivera

Doctor of Philosophy, (Microbiology and Genetics)
Study Completed: 2021
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Synergistic triple combination antibiotic therapy for Gram-negative bacterial infections

The traditional discovery and development of antibiotics cannot keep pace with the emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria. Without novel therapeutic options, we could be catapulted back to the ‘dark ages’ where simple bacterial infections can be life-threatening. Ms Olivera explored synergistic antibiotic combinations as an alternative strategy to develop effective antimicrobial therapies and reported the synergistic interaction of the antibiotics nitrofurans and vancomycin with sodium deoxycholate (bile salt with antimicrobial properties). Synergistic combinations were shown to be an effective approach to revive ‘old’ antibiotics, such as nitrofurans, and to expand the use of normally ineffective antimicrobials, such as vancomycin and sodium deoxycholate, to multidrug resistant ‘superbugs’. The mechanistic bases for the synergy were explained and the findings will lay the groundwork for the development of this antibiotic combination therapy for multidrug-resistant bacterial infections.

Professor Jasna Rakonjac
Associate Professor Gareth Rowlands
Dr Patrick Edwards
Professor Murray Cox