Winner of 2018 FAOBMB Young Scientist Award (Female)

Dr Tatiana Soares da Costa

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

Dr Tatiana Soares da Costa completed a BSc in Biochemistry and Chemistry at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, where she discovered her passion for protein biochemistry. Following her passion, she undertook a Master’s project investigating the structure and function of a key enzyme in the lysine biosynthetic pathway, resulting in two publications in Biochimie.

Further pursuing her developed interest in drug discovery, Tatiana moved to Australia and completed a PhD at the University of Adelaide. During this 3-year project, she established a novel in situ click chemistry protocol to identify the most potent inhibitors of the enzyme biotin protein ligase, with antibacterial activity against the superbug Staphylococcus aureus. Tatiana’s PhD work resulted in nine publications, including first author papers in Chemical Science, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular Microbiology and ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, and co-authorship on a patent.

In 2015, Tatiana was awarded a highly competitive National and Health Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship and relocated La Trobe University. Here, she continues to expand her drug discovery research by focusing on the functional and structural characterisation of a novel antibiotic target to guide the development of novel small molecule inhibitors.

In the last 2 years, Tatiana has published 15 papers, including publications in Journal of Biological Chemistry, Science Immunology and Structure and is a co-inventor on two patents. Tatiana has continuously been involved in teaching, supervising and mentoring students, as well as promoting science to the media and community. She has been invited to disseminate her research in more than25 national/international conferences in Australia, Brazil, Germany, New Zealand, Thailand, UK and USA, and has been recognised with over 30 awards for research excellence. She currently also serves as the Co-Editor of the Australian Biochemist, the magazine of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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