Human and pathogen genomics of tuberculosis
To develop effective therapies for tuberculosis it is crucial to fully understand disease pathogenesis and why only some individuals are susceptible to disease. Supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Singapore, in collaboration with Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) Vietnam, Sarah’s group is investigating the interplay between the human host and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. They are employing a genomics approach to discover novel tuberculosis-associated genes in the Vietnamese, determining the contribution of bacterial genomic variability on tuberculosis outcome and drug resistance, and identifying the interaction between host and pathogen genetic variability in susceptibility to pulmonary tuberculosis. Complementary to this they are investigating the human genetic factors responsible for severe extra-pulmonary disease by performing genome-wide associations studies of tuberculosis meningitis.
Human genomics and integrated “omics” of enteric fever in Asia and Africa
The interface between human host and pathogen likely has a critical role in determining outcome during enteric fever infection. Little is known about human host determinants influencing susceptibility to enteric fever so Sarah’s group is performing genome-wide association studies of patients from Vietnam and Nepal in collaboration with the Genome Institute of Singapore. Through a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award, these human genomics studies are being expanded to include enteric fever populations from Bangladesh and Malawi with the aim to discover novel typhoid disease associations amenable to clinical translation. Additionally, as part of a team supported by NHMRC, they will integrate these host genomic studies with pathogen genomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic studies of typhoid fever infections to identify key immune and metabolic pathways that can be exploited for vaccine design and next-generation diagnostics.
Human genomics of malaria
As part of the global MalariaGEN genomics epidemiology network (malariagen.net) and in collaboration with OUCRU Vietnam, Sarah’s group is investigating human genetic factors that protect people against severe malaria by performing genome-wide association studies of malaria.
Dr Sarah Dunstan
(03) 9035 4870 | [email protected]
- Senior Research Fellow
- Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections, Host Pathogens Interactions , Enteric infections, Tuberculosis
- Discovery Research, Genomics, Global Health, Public Health, Translational and Clinical Research
- Doherty Department
- Lab Group(s):
- Dunstan Group
Dr Sarah Dunstan is a Senior Research Fellow. Sarah uses genomics to understand host-pathogen interactions of infectious diseases. Sarah completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 1998 then undertook a postdoctoral at Imperial College, London. In 2001, Sarah joined the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam and headed up the Human Genetics group. Sarah developed a large program of work on enteric fever, tuberculosis and malaria. In 2013, Sarah returned to the University of Melbourne to continue infectious disease human genomics, and expanded her research to include pathogen genomics. In a separate role for the Doherty Institute, Sarah is developing and implementing a strategy to facilitate and support multi-disciplinary clinical research and to enhance its impact.