The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


Research Projects

Project: Characterisation of viruses with outbreak potential in Australia using genomics

Williamson Group

The transmission of viral infectious diseases of public health concern, such as measles virus and norovirus has changed markedly in the last few years due to the impacts of social restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.  International and returning travellers represent an important source and introduction of these pathogens to Australia; with COVID-19 restrictions likely to have affected the diversity and transmission of these viruses locally. Molecular epidemiology is an important component of outbreak investigations and is used for the analysis of local strain diversity within a global context.  Traditionally short-fragment, Sanger sequencing techniques have been used to perform viral strain identification.  With social restrictions reducing the diversity of circulating viral strains, effective contact tracing has become more difficult with traditional methods. This project will explore the development and optimisation of whole genome sequencing approaches in parallel with traditional Sanger sequencing methods to better characterise clinical samples of viral infectious of outbreak potential in Australia pre, during and post the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Leon Caly
Professor Deborah Williamson

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Williamson Group

2 vacancies

Viral Infectious Diseases
Antimicrobial Resistance
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research
Computational Science and Genomics
Public Health

The Williamson group is established within the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Melbourne and works closely with the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL). The group focuses on the application of microbial genomics to public health microbiology. Their research interests include the molecular epidemiology of infections caused by antimicrobial resistant pathogens, particularly sexually-transmitted infections, and the translation of genomic technologies to diagnostics and questions of public health importance.