• The University of Western Australia (M315), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Biography

Dr Natalia Popowicz is a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice (Clinical Pharmacy) in the Master of Pharmacy program at UWA and a Clinical Pharmacist in Respiratory Medicine at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. Her PhD on ‘Optimising therapy for pleural infection’ (UWA-School of Medicine) included translational clinical research, which has contributed towards change in the management of this condition both locally and internationally. 

Outside clinical and research roles, Dr Popowicz is passionate about teaching and inspiring future and current pharmacists in clinical pharmacotherapy, evidence-based practice and research. She is the Unit Coordinator of two major Pharmacy Practice units- including the hospital clinical placement. Dr Popowicz is the Pharmacy Practice curriculum coordinator in the Master of Pharmacy. In this role, she ensures vertical and horizontal integration of practice curriculum and assessments across five units, and that the content exceeds National accreditation standards as mandated by the Pharmacy Board of Australia. 

In 2020, Dr Popowicz was the Co-chair of the School of Allied Health Research Committee and is a member of 2 national boards including the SHPA Federal Education Steering Group and SHPA Residency Advisory Committee. She has been invited to speak at international and national respiratory conferences and has won a number of research awards. 

Research and practice

Dr Popowicz's clinical research has included establishing the safety and efficacy of intrapleural tPA/DNase therapy as a novel therapy for pleural infection and optimising dosing and administration of this therapy. This research has contributed to changes in the management of pleural infection. Her laboratory research has investigated the biological interactions between bacteria and human pleural fluid, including the mechanistic roles of surface proteins on pneumococcal as potential targets in controlling the development of Streptococcus pneumoniae empyema. 

Dr Popowicz developed the first assay (LC-MS-MS) to measure piperacillin-tazobactam antibiotic levels in pleural fluid to enable individualised dosing to achieve necessary antibiotic concentrations at the site of infection. This will potentially improve patient outcomes. Her research includes collaborations with nine hospitals across Australia, England, Scotland and New Zealand.

In clinical practice as a pharmacist, Dr Popowicz has a research interest in the health outcomes of patients with cystic fibrosis. Her vision is to establish a clinical pharmacy translational research program across Western Australian hospitals and UWA, with a focus on quality use of medicines, clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, with the ultimate aim of optimising the clinical use of medicine.

Grants and awards

  • Faculty Teaching and Service Award- Award for Teaching Excellence nomination (2020)
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award (Early Career) (2019)

  • Coordinating Principal Investigator, Sir Charles Gairdner and Osborne Park Research Advisory Council Grant (2019)

  • Thoracic Society of Australian and New Zealand Annual Scientific Meeting – Best Poster Award- Interventional Pulm/Bronch SIG (2019)
  • European Cystic Fibrosis Association Travel Grant, Belgrade, Serbia (2018)

  • Coordinating Principal Investigator, Sir Charles Gairdner and Osborne Park Research Advisory Council Grant (2018)

  • Coordinating Principal Investigator, Sir Charles Gairdner and Osborne Park Research Advisory Council Grant (2017)
  • Coordinating Principal Investigator, Sir Charles Gairdner and Osborne Park Research Advisory Council Grant (2016)
  • The University of Western Australia Postgraduate Convocation Travel Award (American Thoracic Society Conference – San Francisco and University College of London) (2015)

  • Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand Travel Award (2015)

  • Associate Investigator, Institute for Respiratory Health WestCare Alan King Grant (2014)
  • Australian Postgraduate Scholarship, The University of Western Australia (2014-2017)

  • Lung Institute of Western Australia Pleural Diseases Scholarships (2014-2017)

  • Top-up scholarship, The University of Western Australia (2014-2017)

  • Abbott Products Cystic Fibrosis Allied Health Travel Scholarship, Treatment adherence strategies for cystic fibrosis (Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, US) (2011)

Education/Academic qualification

BPharm (Hons), Curtin University

PGradDipPharm, Curtin University

PhD, The University of Western Australia

External positions

Clinical Pharmacist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

Jan 2006 → …

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