JCU Inspiration on Tap

Key Information


6th March 2024

6:30pm - 8pm


Salt House, 2 Pier Point Road #6 Cairns City, QLD 4870




Public and Community


JCU Events |

Gather your network together to be inspired as JCU’s top researchers and academics share their expertise in a relaxed and fun environment.

Over thousands of years, parasitic worms have been extremely successful when it comes to setting up long-term residence in the human body. While these parasitic worms can cause disease when present in high numbers, they can also help cure some diseases that result from excessive inflammation. Distinguished Professor Alex Loukas and Dr Michael Smout from JCU’s Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) will fill us in on the secret superpowers of some of these worms.

Hookworms: the new superheroes of medicine

Just thinking about them makes many people shiver: tapeworms, threadworms, flukes and hookworms are all parasitic worms that, depending on the species, would love to find a home in people’s intestines, blood or tissues. Over thousands of years, parasitic worms have developed superhero abilities when it comes to masking their presence in the human body.

Hear from Distinguished Professor Alex Loukas about how the bioactive molecules that hookworms secrete could be used to develop the next generation of anti-inflammatory drugs for people with autoimmune and even metabolic diseases.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? Harmful and helpful, the dual nature of parasitic worms

Diabetes is a debilitating disease. People with diabetes confront a variety of challenges, including constantly monitoring their blood sugar and dealing with wounds that refuse to heal. In the worst case scenario this could lead to the amputation of limbs.

Inspired by supercharged, wound-healing flatworm spit, JCU’s Dr Michael Smout and the AITHM team have developed a unique cream that gives patients suffering chronic wounds a chance to accelerate their wound healing and avoid devastating amputations.