While we await the discovery of an effective COVID-19 vaccine, minimising our risk of infection is crucial. During the pandemic, we’ve all learned the importance of hygiene to protect ourselves and minimise our exposure to the virus.
University of Queensland (UQ) researcher, Dr Heather Shewan is developing an antiviral surface cleaner that will help decrease the survival time of COVID-19 on surfaces.
As a recipient of the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship, Dr Shewan, will research the use of hydrolysed gelatine in antiviral cleaners. If her evaluation of thin-film material properties, virology and microbiology is successful, she will develop a cleaner that will dramatically reduce the risk of surface transmission. This is not only a win for the health of Queenslanders, but also a win for local manufacturing jobs.
We caught up with Heather to discuss her research project and fellowship.
Could you tell us about your research?
My research is focussed on food microstructure, its flow properties and the way in which these factors impact our perception of food texture. The Advanced Queensland Fellowship builds on my knowledge of food ingredients and their behaviour on the surfaces in our mouths to develop a novel antiviral surface cleaner based on gelatine.
How will the funding from Advance Queensland support you on your research journey?
It will enable me to become more independent in my research and develop collaborations with researchers and industry partners in Queensland.
How will your research benefit and assist Queenslanders?
This project will benefit Queenslanders through the development of an antiviral surface cleaner that forms an active and long-lasting barrier against viruses and bacteria. This could be beneficial in high use areas such as public transport. The project will also support industry and jobs in Queensland through two local manufacturers.
What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the Industry Research Fellowships program?
It means I can build on my fundamental research and translate that into a product that will benefit Queenslanders and Queensland industry.