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Dr Alison Heather has a growing reputation as an anti-doping expert, thanks in part to a project that saw her awarded runner-up in the open category for the UTS rounds of Trailblazer 2010.
“My project was about developing a really sensitive assay, or detection method, that can measure androgens, or performance enhancing drugs, in elite athletes,” Heather says.
“Companies who produce performance enhancing drugs familiarise themselves with the testing procedures that are used and then design an androgen that will beat the test. So my work is about trying to outsmart the chemists and design an assay that will detect anything that has any androgen activity.”
Since the competition, Heather has been awarded a grant from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to further develop the assay and has used it to screen for androgens in a range of neutraceuticals – food or nutritional supplements purporting to provide health and medical benefits – that can be purchased on the web.
Heather adds, “I’ve also used it to help some of our current Olympic athletes to check the nutritional supplements they’re taking don’t have any androgens in them.”
Research interest includes Androgen, Doping Screening, Insulin, Hormonal Therapy, Steroids