In Profile: Weija Liu, PhD Candidate
From 2010-2017, Weija (‘Eve’) Liu was a medical student studying clinical medicine at Tongji University in Shanghai, China. While working in hospitals, she witnessed serious infection cases caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, leaving many patients with unfavourable prognosis. This experience piqued Eve’s interest in antibiotic usage and resistance, and specifically its prevalence and evolution within society.
Eve says that antibiotic resistance has the potential to hugely impact global health, development and security.
“The consequence of widespread antibiotic resistance can not only lead to increased treatment failures and death rates, but can also result in lengthier hospital stays and the need for expensive medical treatments, increasing medical costs across the board.”
Eve is a PhD Candidate in UNSW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine. Under the guidance of her supervisors, Professor Mary-Louise McLaws and Professor Torsten Thomas, she is using wastewater surveillance to study trends in antibiotic usage and resistance.
While typical surveillance projects are hospital-based, Eve believes it is crucial to fill the enormous monitoring gap left by the general population.
“Often, surveillance strategies gather pathology results from patients visiting clinical institutes, ignoring the healthy population in the general community,” says Eve.
“I have realised that instead of focusing on single clinical cases, the public health of our society can be better protected by through broader research studies and implementing proactive management strategies.”
Eve is first working to establish a reliable process for regular monitoring of antibiotic and antibiotic resistance in Sydney. Sydney Water provides samples of wastewater periodically, along with relevant information about the sampling sites such as the inflow rates of the sampled wastewater treatment plants.
Eve hopes that her research will fill the huge knowledge gap on antibiotic usage and resistance regionally and possibly even nationally in future, which will enable policy-makers to formulate effective management strategies.
Eve says that it was an easy decision to choose UNSW for her PhD.
Instead of focusing on single clinical cases, the public health of our society can be better protected by through broader research studies and implementing proactive management strategies.
Eve Liu, PhD Candidate, UNSW
“UNSW is renown as an educational institute equipped with excellent academic resources. Studying at UNSW is enjoyable, the academic environment here is positive and friendly and the staff and students are all kind and helpful,” says Eve.
“The abundant laboratory and teaching resources allow me to pursue my research aspirations without limitation.”
Eve’s primary goal after completing her PhD is to continue with a postdoctoral project, but she is open to different paths in order to get there.
“The plan is flexible and might be adjusted depending on my future workplace. I might try to find a job here if conditions permit, otherwise I may return to my home country. However, no matter where I work, I will always maintain my dream of becoming a researcher.”