Megan Rossi, 26, PhD candidate and Accredited Practising Dietitian featured in January issue of Cosmopolitan
Megan’s ground-breaking research into kidney disease is focusing on an illness that kills more people a year than breast cancer in Australia. “It’s called the silent killer because you can lose up to 90 per cent of your kidney function before you even see the symptoms,” says Rossi.
Rossi began her research into kidney disease after seeing the dreadful effects of dialysis treatment on young and seemingly healthy patients while working at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital. “That’s when I decided to do my PhD at The University of Queensland’s School of Medicine, looking at delaying dialysis – a treatment that costs the government more than $1 billion dollars a year.” Her discovery? Manipulating the bacteria that live in our gut, which outnumber human cells 10 to one, with a specific formulation of prebiotics and probiotics. Rossi attributes much of her success to her PhD supervisors, Assoc. Prof Katrina Campbell and Prof David Johnson, and long-standing mentor, Assoc. Prof Maree Ferguson, “without their invaluable guidance and support, none of this would have been possible”.
Rossi presented her work in Germany this year, “they were really excited by it and invited me to visit and present at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden – the research centre where they announce the Nobel Peace Prize each year,” she said.
Next time she’s there, maybe she’ll be accepting one.