Catherine Satzke

veski inspiring women fellow

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

In 2015, an inaugural veski inspiring women fellowship was awarded to Associate Professor Catherine Satzke from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, who is remaining connected with her work in pneumococcal diseases.

The fellowship helped combat a common challenge with maternity leave which is about continuing to conduct experiments while being away from the lab. The veski inspiring women fellowship helped fund a postdoctoral scientist to be the ‘hands at the bench’ to carry out the experiments while Associate Professor Satzke was on leave and enabled her to maintain the momentum of the research.

She was also able to employ a senior postdoctoral scientist to play a key role as a mentor to other staff and students while Catherine was on leave.

The veski inspiring women fellowship enabled Dr Satzke to undertake maternity leave knowing that her role as a supervisor and academic leader would be maintained during this period. This enabled her research to not only continue but thrive while she was away.

Catherine’s research is focused on the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, the pneumococcus, which is a leading killer of children under five years of age, with most deaths occurring in the developing world.

Current childhood pneumococcal vaccines effectively reduce both disease and carriage, but only protect against a subset of pneumococcal types, and are costly to produce. Assessment of vaccine impact in these countries is important to justify their ongoing use and the cost incurred.

She has two children, and continues to build the scientific research team she has established and maintain her growing international recognition and impact.