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Improving human health through the microbiome

Every person harbours a unique collection of microorganisms - the majority of which reside in the gastrointestinal tract - that influences nearly every aspect of human health. As such, the gut microbiome is emerging as a potential tool for the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of diseases.However, microbiome studies yield vast amounts of data, and the complexity of the microbiome makes it difficult to decipher interactions between microorganisms, host cells and environmental factors.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Microbiome Research

Exploring global viral diversity with conserved sequence tags

Viruses control much of the world indirectly through infection of microbial cells. Modern metagenomics provides the raw data to investigate their dynamics and patterns of co-occurrence with the microbial hosts, but extracting signal from these datasets at the large scale remains challenging. Marker-gene based approaches, such as SingleM, have shown great promise for microbial data, converting metagenomic datasets into community profiles by concentrating on reads which derive from conserved sections of prevalent genes.

Study level
PhD
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Microbiome Research

Symbiosis in microbial ecosystems

Soil systems are fundamentally important to the health of our planet, but the complexity of soil microbial communities makes them particularly challenging to study. Soil systems are amongst the most diverse microbial ecosystems on Earth in terms of the number of microbial species (and strains) present within individual samples, and in the breadth of functions encoded. Beyond complexity measured by counting distinct community members, interactions between microbial species including symbiosis, parasitism or commensalism are widespread and yet barely studied.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Microbiome Research

Comprehensive strain-level characterisation of microbial communities associated with inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic, relapsing inflammatory disorder driven by complex interactions between environmental, microbial and immune-mediated factors 1,2. An unfavourable shift in gut microbiome composition, known as dysbiosis, is now considered a key feature of IBD 2-5, however it is unclear how specific microorganisms and their interactions with host cells contribute to disease onset and progression.Previous IBD studies have been largely limited to older sequencing methods with low phylogenetic and functional resolution. Furthermore, these studies have predominantly …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Microbiome Research

Giant viruses in the human gut microbiome

The human body is home to a vast ecosystem of microorganisms including bacteria, archaea, fungi, viruses, and bacteriophages that make up the human microbiota. These microbes and their collective genetic material, known as the microbiome, influence a wide range of physiological functions including nutrient production and absorption, the development and regulation of our immune system, protection against potential pathogens, and even our mood and mental health. While distinct microbial communities exist throughout the body, the gut microbiome has gained particular …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Microbiome Research

Metagenomic analysis of bacterial contamination screening pooled platelets

Bacterial sepsis is second only to ABO incompatibility as a cause of death from transfusion. Bacterial contamination of platelets is recognised as the most significant residual infectious risk of transfusion in developed countries. Bacterial Contamination Screening (BCS) has been required for testing of pooled and apheresis platelets manufactured by the Blood Service since April 2008. International microbiological culture studies suggest that the incidence of bacterial contamination ranges from 1:3000 to 1:1000 units of apheresis platelets and 1 in 600 to …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

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