Dr Elke Seppanen is a post-doctoral researcher within the Bacterial Respiratory Disease Group (BRIDG) at the Telethon Kids Institute. Her PhD in stem cell research and extensive experience in immunology, cell and molecular biology gained from previous post-doctoral and research assistant positions have proved valuable for her work here in BRIDG.
Dr Seppanen joined the team in 2019 and her work aligns with the team’s vision to reduce the global burden of ear and lung disease through discovery, translation and collaboration. Dr Seppanen’s research 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 recently 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, we are now 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. Dr Seppanen also has a small project investigating maternal-infant transfer of pneumococcal and Haemophilus Influenzae antibodies in high-risk populations to guide maternal immunisation strategies.