A Redland Hospital doctor who was bitten by a mossie and contracted Ross River virus went on to research the disease and develop a drug which is used to treat sufferers.
Her research on zoonosis has seen Lara Herrero nominated for a prestigious award which recognises her ground-breaking work.
Zoonoses are diseases which can be transmitted from animals to humans such as HIV, Ebola, Zika, and SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Dr Herrero was announced as a finalist in the 2021 Women in Technology awards for outstanding achievement in science.
She is the leader of a research group with the Griffith University Institute for Glycomics which created a world-first treatment for viral arthritis caused by mosquito-borne alphavirus infections.
It is the first drug to market from a Griffith University lab and can be used to treat the debilitating the Ross River Virus, which Dr Herrero said she was diagnosed with 17 years ago.
"In 2004 I was bitten by a mosquito at a family barbeque in Perth and two weeks later I was told I had contracted the Ross River Virus, and I got sick for a few years," Dr Herrero said.
"You often get told by doctors that nothing can be done and to go home and take a Panadol, and that can have a really devastating impact.
"I was studying hand foot and mouth disease, and I changed my research to find a solution to help other people going through what I went through."
RRV is the most common mosquito-transmitted disease affecting Australians with more than 5000 infections reported per year.
Dr Herrero was nominated by a member of the admin team from the Institute for Glycomics and said she was pleased to be selected as a finalist from 300 nominees across 14 categories.
"I was very surprised and honoured, it's nice to be recognised for hard work," she said.
"I think I've been nominated because I do a lot for science and it's really just a part of my lifestyle.
"There are so many women in STEM doing wonderful things, and I think more should get involved with the support network we have here in Brisbane."
The Women in Technology 2021 Awards will celebrate women involved in outstanding STEM work, recognise their contributions to research, policy, economic and social development.
The 2021 awards presentation and Gala Dinner will be held on Thursday October 21 at Brisbane's Royal International Convention Centre.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.