Personnel Image

Written By

Katherine Kokkonen


College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences

Publish Date

16 December 2019

Related Study Areas

A passion for biomedicine

Biomedical Sciences was only supposed to be a stepping stone to study Medicine for JCU graduate Eva Duck. However, once she started studying the Bachelor's degree, her plans took an unexpected turn. She recounts her story and what she hopes for the world.

I grew up in a country town, Gympie, and the prospect of moving to the ‘big smoke’ was daunting. Once I realised there was a university in Townsville that had a great medical and science program, I knew it was where I wanted to study.

I applied for the Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences with the end goal of Medicine. I stuck with Biomed, not only because I found it interesting and engaging, but because it’s essential. While biomedical scientists aren’t front and centre like doctors are, the work we do is ground breaking.

I loved the practical classes! Whether it was examining cadavers, dissecting mice, or discovering disease-causing bacteria from clinical samples — I found it all very engaging and exciting. I grew fond of all my lecturers. Their experiences, stories and personalities made all the difference. It made learning fun.

Everything that I learnt, particularly in my microbiology classes, in addition to my year of Honours research, has been applied within my work. One of the things I’m proud of is that I managed to finish Honours. It was one of the hardest, most challenging, but definitely most rewarding years of my degree, and I came out on top.

AITHM building at JCU
Eva Duck conducting research in lab

Striving to make a difference

I’m currently working as a full-time research assistant at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine.

My work specifically looks at the potential synergistic or antagonistic effect of salicylates and antibiotics on both planktonic growth and biofilm formation of various pathogens. Essentially, we’re looking at different ways to treat bacterial infection by using different combinations of drugs than those which are conventionally used by doctors and surgeons. This research interests me because it could lead to an innovative and new way to treat bacterial infection in patients. We hope this research will reduce the clinical use of antibiotics, ultimately decreasing the prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria.

Research is essential for the continuation of successful medical treatment for patients. That is something that I am proud to be a part of. Knowing that my research is contributing to the greater good is what keeps me going. Find your drive and let it propel you forward.

We could change the world if we all cared enough to do something with what we have. I’d love to see people become less self-seeking and become more others-focused. A little can go a long way. I want to increase my capacity to help people. It seems simplistic, but regardless of what I’m doing in life, if I’m always striving to help people I’m satisfied.

Discover JCU Biomedical Sciences

Dedicate your life to others and contribute to the future of health care