October 4, 2016
A team of scientists from The Westmead Institute for Medical Research, Westmead Hospital and Pathology West laboratories will use the latest gene sequencing technology to get a better understanding of the spread of the foodborne pathogens salmonella and listeria, thanks to a New South Wales government grant.
The program, led by Associate Professor Vitali Sintchenko and Professor Jon Iredell, will also use Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) for the rapid identification, tracking and assessment of antibiotic resistance in cases of tuberculosis.
The Translational Research Grant of $550,000 over two years will allow the use of WGS to analyse samples taken from patients and improve the timeliness and accuracy of outbreak detection, genotyping and antibiotic resistance identification.
Under the research program, for example, approximately 50 per cent of all salmonella cultures from patients in NSW will undergo WGS.
This should result in better identification of a salmonella outbreak’s source, the direction of disease transmission and previously hidden transmission links.
The research program aims to improve public health outcomes and infection control practices through more targeted and cost-effective interventions and resource utilisation,” said Associate Professor Sintchenko.
In order to facilitate the translation of this knowledge into public health practice, the program will also include training of epidemiologists and microbiologists throughout the state in genomic surveillance.
The pathogen genomics grant is one of 24 grants totalling more than $10 million awarded by the New South Wales Government.
NSW Minister for Medical Research, Pru Goward, said: “Some of our brightest minds are dedicated to unlocking the secrets of ill health, disease and cure.
“These cutting-edge research projects we recognise today have the potential to make lives better and to ease suffering,” she said.