2011 ASBMB Award - Natalie Spillman
Research School of Biology
Australian National University
Natalie Spillman completed a Bachelor of Philosophy degree with First Class Honours at the Australian National University in 2007. During this research-focussed degree, she completed projects on topics ranging from cytokinin regulation in Arabidopsis to the clustering of GABA receptors in neurons. However, her interest was sparked in the Parasitology field and she completed Honours under the supervision of Professor Kiaran Kirk and Dr Richard Allen investigating Na+ and pH regulation in the malaria parasite. This work led to a first author publication in Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology in 2008. Natalie remained interested in ion regulation and is currently nearing completion of her PhD at the ANU, focusing on Na+ homeostasis in the malaria parasite. Although Natalie is interested in Na+ transport as an elementary and crucial aspect of cellular physiology, the recent finding that a Na+-transporter may play a role in resistance to the antimalarial drug quinine has made Na+ regulation an exciting and topical subject . During her PhD studies, she has twice received funding from the ARC/NHMRC Research Network for Parasitology to travel to La Trobe University to undertake research with collaborators Professor Leann Tilley, Dr Nick Klonis and Dr Alex Maier. The ASBMB Fellowship will allow Natalie to present her recent research at the 7th BioMalPar meeting in Heidelberg, Germany.