Meet scientist, Anne Mai-Prochnow

Anne Mai-Prochnow“Originally from Germany, I came to Sydney together with my husband in the beginning of 2002 to finish the last year of undergraduate studies at UNSW. Enjoying the beautiful weather and great lifestyle of Sydney’s Eastern suburbs we quickly made lots of friends and extended our stay”.

“I started a PhD in microbiology, on the topic of investigating the lifestyle of marine bacteria. Many of the bacteria found in the ocean produce compounds to kill other bacteria and thus have the potential to be used as antibacterial agents. A constant increase of bacterial resistance to traditional antibiotics makes the search for new ones very important.

Our first daughter was born just after finishing my PhD. We still enjoyed living in Sydney, but wanted to try living a bit closer to our family, before deciding to settle down for longer. We moved back to Europe (UK) with our toddler. However, it didn’t take long for us to realise that we preferred living in Australia. So after 18 months, when I was pregnant with our second daughter, we decided to move back to Sydney”.

“I am now working at CSIRO, looking at new ways to kill potentially dangerous bacteria. My current project uses gas plasma (a mix of ions, excited molecules, radicals and UV) to sterilise and extend the shelf life of food without the use of heat or chemicals. Another application is the sterilisation of medical devices, so they don’t cause infections. While working at CSIRO I joined the “scientists in schools” program and was lucky to do a few class room science sessions in a primary school. This is a great way of promoting science in the community and inspiring children and it really is lots of fun”.

“I love being a scientist and enjoy my work. There are always lots of smart people from all ages and backgrounds to work with. I get to go to international conferences and collaborate with other scientists in different countries. And it feels good to be involved in projects which help make life better for others”.

 

Author: Sharon Quill

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