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.