Izzy is a Senior Technician in ESR’s Food, Water and Biowaste group based at the Kenepuru Science Centre. The research undertaken by her group focuses on the development of sustainable options for the reduction, re-use and disposal of biowastes (external link) .
Current projects that Izzy is involved includes antimicrobial activity of native New Zealand plant species, assessing the microbial quality of greywater, and undertaking field site studies to look at the benefits of riparian planting on the restoration of water quality.
Izzy's background is in molecular biology and pathology having completed her undergraduate degree in biomedical science at Victoria University and then a Master’s degree in drug discovery and development.
Izzy’s Master’s project focused on new approaches for natural product drug discovery using New Zealand lichens. Natural products have been used throughout history as medicines particularly as antibiotics, but with increasing levels of antibiotic resistance emerging, new avenues for finding medicines need to be explored.
Izzy’s project looked at New Zealand lichens and their symbiotic partnership between bacteria and fungi. It has been shown that symbiotes produce some interesting compounds. The approaches used for drug discovery were separated into three branches: bioactivity guided isolation, metagenomics with the creation of metagenomic libraries to selectively screen for bioactive library clones, and metabolomics incorporating molecular networking to look for unique lichen metabolites. Compounds were found in the lichens that had both antibacterial and antifungal activity. Isolating these compounds and further analysis is continuing at Victoria University. For more information about ESR's work in analysing antibiotic consumption, read the report which presents the first comprehensive summary of consumption in New Zealand.
Email Izzy: Izzy.Alderton@esr.cri.nz