The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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

EDUCATION

Research Projects

Project: Detecting natural selection in bacterial genomic data

Davies Group

Many processes in microbial pathogen evolution are shaped by natural selection, including evasion of the host’s immune response, and drug resistance. For example, the emergence of drug resistance is sometimes driven by a few point mutations in some bacteria. Natural selection leaves a signature in pathogen genomes that can be quantified statistically by modelling the distribution and frequency of mutations in relevant genomic regions.

This project will use a wealth of pathogen genomic of group A Streptococcus spp. and Klebsiella pneumoniae to detect signatures of selection driving pathogenesis and drug resistance using computational methods. The data have are already available and have been curated, such that the project will focus on computational analyses. The student will learn bioinformatic genomics approaches and phylogenetic methods, and will develop skills in programming in Python and R.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Sebastián Duchêne

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Mark Davies

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science
Honours

Davies Group

[email protected]

3 vacancies

Themes
Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections
Host Pathogens Interactions
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research
Genomics
Indigenous Health
Public Health

The Davies group aims to apply genome sequencing methodologies and bioinformatics approaches to understand the evolution and transmission of bacterial pathogens. This knowledge can help facilitate a global understanding of pathogen evolution, in addition to informing public health intervention to reduce the disease burden associated with bacterial pathogens. Current projects address key research questions such as: is there a genetic difference between strains causing different disease manifestations? What is driving the emergence and dissemination of bacterial pathogens? Do host immune factors govern disease severity? Our research closely aligns with key international collaborators including the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom. 


Davies Group Current Projects