$10.2 million for life-changing research
Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Minister for Medical Research Pru Goward announced $10.2 million in Translational Research Grants to ensure innovative ideas advance from the laboratory to the frontline of patient care.
Among the recipients were Associate Professor Vitali Sintchenko, Clinical Microbiologist from our Westmead lab and his Westmead Hospital research partner Professor Jon Iredell.
They will receive a $550,000 grant to use whole genome sequencing of pathogens for rapid identification, tracking and assessment of antibiotic resistance of tuberculosis and for control of salmonellosis and listeriosis.
Dr Sintchenko said the project is about protecting the people of NSW from tuberculosis and foodborne diseases.
“This grant enables us to apply next generation sequencing to strengthen control of infectious diseases,” he said.
Mrs Skinner said she was proud to deliver funding for the projects.
"The 24 recipients of the inaugural grants are innovative, scientifically rigorous and demonstrate strong cross-sector partnerships, which have the potential to translate rapidly into treatments and better health services.”
Ms Goward added “some of our brightest minds are dedicated to unlocking the secrets of ill health, disease and cure. The cutting-edge research projects we recognise today have the potential to make lives better and to ease suffering.”
Tracking the source and stopping the spread of salmonella
Pathology West’s enteric reference laboratory at Westmead is using whole genome sequencing to help track salmonella outbreaks and limit their spread.
The team is led by Dr Vitali Sintchenko, and with Dr Qinning Wang and Peter Howard has significantly improved surveillance of potential health problems by using whole genome sequencing to determine how closely related bacteria are to each other and a specific outbreak.
This helps identify if cases are coming from one source or several which is important in cases like the January food poisoning episode linked to a Sylvania bakery.
Being able to identify the genotype of the bacteria means health agencies can be prepared for an isolated or potentially widespread outbreak like the February salmonella poisoning that was traced back to a lettuce supplier in Victoria and resulted in a national recall of products.
The NSW Reference Laboratory uses reference and surveillance services for the pathogen genomics team that is part of the Centre for Infectious Diseases and Mircrobiology - Public Health and Marie Bashir Institute of the University of Sydney.
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