University of Cambridge > > Bradford Hill Seminars > Bacterial Genomes and Metagenomes: from point mutations to public health

Bacterial Genomes and Metagenomes: from point mutations to public health

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Mark Pallen is a medically qualified bacteriologist with research interests that span genomics and bioinformatics and a spectrum of basic and applied research. He holds an undergraduate degree from Cambridge and a PhD from Imperial.

High-throughput sequencing (HT) has transformed clinical microbiology in recent years. Several proof-of-principle studies have shown that whole-genome sequencing, greatly facilitated by HTS , is able to provide a fine-grained view of the epidemiology of bacterial infections in the community and in hospitals, showing how pathogens and virulence/resistance spread and evolve. I will describe our experiences with this approach on Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli and the multi-drug resistant Gram-negative hospital pathogen, Acinetobacter baumannii. We have also been exploring the diagnostic potential of shotgun metagenomics—that is the open-ended sequencing of DNA from mixtures of organisms without culture or capture of bacterial cells. I will show how this approach can be used to recover genomes of E. coli and M. tuberculosis from clinical and historical samples, including retrospective diagnosis of tuberculosis in 18th Century Hungarian mummies.

This talk is part of the Bradford Hill Seminars series.

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