In this issue


Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 3

Breaking Research of Early Career and Student Researchers

Vertical Transmission

I recently returned from Hobart, where I attended another hugely successful Annual Scientific Meeting of our Society. The conference attracted many outstanding international and Australian participants, who spoke on a wide range of topics. The overall theme of ‘Planetary Health’ worked well with a number of speakers alluding to this vitally important issue in their presentations.

Editorial

Issues of Microbiology Australia usually have a specific microbiology theme; however, this issue is different. It resulted from a call from the Editorial Board to Early Career Researchers of The Australian Society for Microbiology for expressions of interest to contribute to an issue showcasing upcoming leading Australian research, over a year ago. After submission, the Editorial Board then invited full submissions from Early Career Researchers who had ‘breaking’ research to present. These went through the normal pro...

Chlamydia pecorum: successful pathogen of koalas or Australian livestock?

In Australia, the obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia pecorum is best known as the notorious koala pathogen that causes debilitating ocular and urogenital tract disease. While globally published data suggests that this species is essentially ubiquitous in livestock, little is known about the epidemiology of livestock C. pecorum infections here in Australia. My research is focused on investigating the genetic diversity and transmission patterns of C. pecorum, and why it causes disease. Using our newly developed C. ...

Advances in the understanding of the Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii species complexes and cryptococcosis

The rising incidence of cryptococcosis, a potentially fatal fungal infection affecting both immunocompromised and immunocompetent humans and animals, and the emergence of disease outbreaks, has increased the need for more in-depth studies and constant vigilance of its two etiological agents, the cosmopolitan and well known Cryptococcus neoformans and its sibling species C. gattii. As a result, a global scientific network has established formal links between institutions to gain better insights into Cryptococcus and cryptoco...

Salmonella in Australia: understanding and controlling infection

The bacterium Salmonella causes a spectrum of foodborne diseases ranging from acute gastroenteritis to systemic infections, and represents a significant burden of disease globally. In Australia, Salmonella is frequently associated with outbreaks and is a leading cause of foodborne illness, which results in a significant medical and economic burden. Salmonella infection involves colonisation of the small intestine, where the bacteria invades host cells and establishes an intracellular infection. To survive within host cells,...

Life in the small intestine: the forgotten microbiome?

The gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota is now widely accepted to be an important modulator of our health and well-being. The microbes colonising the GI tract aid in promoting gut and immune homeostasis, while alterations in the composition and/or density of these microbes, often referred to as dysbiosis, have been implicated in many intestinal and extra-intestinal disorders. As a result, the GI microbiota is of increasing interest as a therapeutic target. This is particularly the case in the context of GI disorders linked to chronic inflammation ...

A key regulatory mechanism of antimicrobial resistance in pathogenic Acinetobacter baumannii

Acinetobacter baumannii is a Gram-negative bacterial pathogen that has become a pressing global health issue in recent decades. Although virulence factors for this pathogen have been identified, details of how they are regulated are largely unknown. One widely employed regulatory mechanism that bacteria, such as A. baumannii, have adopted is through two component signal transduction systems (TCS). TCS consist of two proteins; a histidine kinase and response regulator. The histidine kinase allows the bacterium to sense alterations ...

From isolate to answer: how whole genome sequencing is helping us rapidly characterise nosocomial bacterial outbreaks

The occurrence of highly resistant bacterial pathogens has risen in recent years, causing immense strain on the healthcare industry. Hospital-acquired infections are arguably of most concern, as bacterial outbreaks in clinical settings provide an ideal environment for proliferation among vulnerable populations. Understanding these outbreaks beyond what can be determined with traditional clinical diagnostics and implementing these new techniques routinely in the hospital environment has now become a major focus. This brief review will discuss th...

Necrotic disease in bivalve larval cultures

The health of marine bivalve larvae is greatly affected by bacteria in the environment particularly when reared in marine hatcheries. This is generally because high stocking densities resulting in high organic loads of both food and faeces, can support increased bacterial growth and biomass levels. Increased bacterial load can lead to larval disease referred to as bacillary necrosis (BN) leading in turn to rapid larval mortality and loss of production. Despite more than 50 years since the first detailed description of BN, we still do not fully ...

Maternal Group B Streptococcus colonisation

Streptococcus agalactiae, commonly known as Group B Streptococcus (GBS), is an important neonatal pathogen known to cause sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia. Australian pregnant women undergo screening during pregnancy in an effort to eradicate GBS before delivery where transmission to the neonate can occur. Preventative treatment includes intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis and results in widespread treatment of the 10–40% of pregnant women colonised. GBS are separated into ten different capsular polysaccharide serotypes and previou...

Exploring HIV latency using transcription profiling

The major barrier to a cure for HIV is the existence of reservoirs consisting predominantly of latently infected CD4+ T cells, which do not produce virus constitutively but can be induced to produce infectious virus on activation. HIV latency research has largely focused on peripheral blood, yet most HIV-infected cells reside in tissues, especially the gut, where differences in drug penetration, cell types, and immune responses may impact mechanisms of persistence. Exploring the differences between the gut and the blood in transcript...

Hidden reservoirs of hospital-associated infections

Klebsiella pneumoniae (Kp) is a Gram-negative bacterium that is ubiquitous in the environment and is of increasing concern in public health. Kp can be carried asymptomatically as a commensal organism and can cause opportunistic infections in susceptible individuals; this is further complicated by an increasing incidence of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) strains. Given Kp can be carried asymptomatically, and can cause infections, it is possible that asymptomatic carriage acts as a reservoir for infection. Our recent work ...

Whole genome sequencing as a novel approach for characterising Neisseria meningitidis in Australia

Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) is the causative agent of invasive meningococcal disease that manifests as life-threatening septicaemia and/or meningitis. This review provides a brief overview of the prevention of the disease and also highlights the importance of whole genome sequencing (WGS) in detecting outbreaks of meningococci in Australia. The use of WGS in identifying the emergence of a penicillin-resistant cluster of meningococci is Western Australia is used as an example for advocating the implementation of WGS on the rout...

Report from ASM 2017: Planetary Health

Volume 38 Number 3

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