Connagh Redmond is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne Dental School, supervised by Prof. Neil O’Brien-Simpson in the ACTV research group. Their research is investigating the activity and potential applications of amphibian antimicrobial peptides. Antimicrobial peptides are an important area of research when it comes to combatting the looming threat of antibiotic resistance. Antimicrobial peptides have many interesting features that allow them to stimulate the immune system and kill bacteria while avoiding host cells and resistance mechanisms. However, there are many challenges associated developing them into viable drugs due to lack of understanding of their mechanisms and their sensitivity to their environment. Connagh is working to find ways in which antimicrobial peptide research can be improved. This includes refinement of assays currently used for general antibiotic discovery to account for differences in peptide chemistry and identifying ways to modify peptides to make them more stable and effective. They hope to apply this research to develop topical wound healing applications for the antimicrobial maculatin and aurein peptides, derived from Australian frogs.
Connagh is also trained in art and cultural heritage conservation and is an internationally exhibited bio-artist. They love plants and animals and spending time in the outdoors to learn about nature.