Australian centre for genomic epidemiological microbiology

  Contact : +61 2 4640 6333


Established to address research on current and emerging pests and infectious and parasitic diseases, Ausgem is utilizing a genomic epidemiological approach by combining the unique and complementary skills and resources of the founding partners. Specifically it is harnessing the high throughput genomic, proteomic and bioinformatics skills available within the ithree institute and the pathogen libraries and laboratory and epidemiological skills available at EMAI.

Genomic epidemiology

In the past five years, enormous progress has been made in sequencing technology for the genomes of most living entities. For many years ability to generate sequencing data was the rate-limiting step however it has now become possible to carry out whole genome sequencing (WGS) for single cell organisms in hours and for more complex organisms in days. Having sequenced the genome of the target organism, it is then necessary to interpret these data in terms of function and/or characterisation. This is now the major task facing this area of research and has focused genome research into the areas of bioinformatics and computational biology. New algorithmic approaches are impacting on our understanding of putative gene-functions whilst massively improved data storage and management hardware has facilitated the processing of vast amounts of sequence data into useful information.

In the area of pathogen research (principally bacteria and viruses) WGS has offered the opportunity to link the genomic data from the causative agent with clinical information and the outbreak description. Termed genomic epidemiology, this opens the door to a whole new area of science that links the whole genome of the organism with elements of the disease and enhances our potential to use this information for improved disease risk management.


Core Strengths

  • Excellent high-throughput microbial sequencing capabilities
  • Sophisticated bioinformatic understanding and algorithms
  • The wide range of skills, knowledge and facilities to meet the major areas of genomic epidemiology research
  • Access to a wide range of pathogens that affect humans, livestock, farmed aquatic food species and plants
  • Good understanding of the disease process (host pathogen relationship), clinical episodes in humans, livestock and plants and a strong understanding of disease mitigation strategies
  • Access to the high containment facilities within EMAI