Dr Elke Seppanen is Program Manager of the Bacterial Respiratory Disease Group (BRIDG) at the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, based at Telethon Kids Institute. Dr Seppanen brings over 20 years of research experience, ranging from discovery science to clinical trials. Her PhD in stem cell research and extensive experience in immunology, cell and molecular biology and clinical lab coordination gained from previous post-doctoral, research assistant and lab management positions have proved invaluable for her work at BRIDG.
In her role as Program Manager, Dr Seppanen supports the team’s vision to reduce the global burden of ear and lung disease through discovery, translation and collaboration. She also contributes to the team’s research program which aims to investigate the pathogenesis of respiratory diseases to contribute to the development of improved preventative therapies and treatments for pneumococcal and Haemophilus Influenzae diseases.
Dr Seppanen published a pivotal paper with the team which identified that children with a specific bacterium present in their middle ear at the time of grommet insertion were three times more likely to need repeat grommet surgery.
With a two-pronged approach, the BRIDG team are working on ways to prevent this bacterium from causing disease and developing new strategies to target the bacteria in the middle ear to prevent reinfection and repeat surgery.
Evidence of maternal transfer of antigen-specific antibodies in serum and breast milk to infants at high-risk of S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae disease
Children in low-mid income countries, and First Nations children in high-income countries, experience disproportionately high rates of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae infections and diseases including pneumonia and otitis media.Published research Breastfeeding Ear Infections Influenza Vaccine Trials Group Subsite: Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Bacterial Respiratory Infectious Disease GroupApril 2022
Australian Aboriginal Otitis-Prone Children Produce High-Quality Serum IgG to Putative Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae Vaccine Antigens at Lower Titres Compared to Non-Aboriginal Children
Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is the most common bacterial otopathogen associated with otitis media (OM). NTHi persists in biofilms within the middle ears of children with chronic and recurrent OM. Australian Aboriginal children suffer exceptionally high rates of chronic and recurrent OM compared to non-Aboriginal children.Published research Ear Infections Vaccine Trials Group Subsite: Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Bacterial Respiratory Infectious Disease GroupAugust 2021
Differences in Pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae Natural Antibody Development in Papua New Guinean Children in the First Year of Life
Development of vaccines to prevent disease and death from Streptococcus pneumoniae, and nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), the main pathogens that cause otitis media, pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis, are a global priority.Published research Infectious Diseases Ear Health Vaccine Trials Group Subsite: Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Bacterial Respiratory Infectious Disease Group