Caitlin Selway, mentee in the 2018 MedTech-Pharma program in SA (The University of Adelaide)

Caitlin Selway was awarded a Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science) in 2015 and an Honours Degree of Bachelor of Science in 2016, both at the University of Adelaide. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Australian Centre of Ancient DNA, collaborating with clinicians and researchers from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Healthy Urban Microbiome Initiative, Flinders Medical Centre Department of Ophthalmology, and the University of Adelaide.

Caitlin’s research investigates the response of human-associated microbial communities (microbiome) when there is a change in an individual’s environment or if they have a disease. Unlike most microbiome research, which focuses on the gut, Caitlin investigates areas of the body that have a drastically lower microbial count in comparison to the gut. For example, she is examining the microbes in mouths of premature babies, and even microbes of the eye. This area of research presents several challenges; most of the readily available protocols for microbiome research are not well-suited for the low microbial content Caitlin is working with, thus she is also developing new methods for these sample types.

Last year, Caitlin presented the development of the oral microbiome of premature infants at the International Association for Dental Research in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, Caitlin has been accepted to present both a poster and oral presentation at the American Society for Microbiology in San Francisco, USA, as well as an oral presentation at the Australian Society for Microbiology in Adelaide, Australia. At these two conferences, Caitlin will be presenting how the microbial communities on the skin and nose change after exposure to urban green space environments, highlighting the importance to reduce the prevalence of allergies and autoimmune diseases.

You can find Caitlin on: