Professor Daniel (Danny) Wilson (University of Oxford, UK)
Friday 8th July, 2016
ESJ King Theatre, Medical Building, The University of Melbourne
Is the body’s natural flora capable of evolving over time to become more virulent? Could evolvable virulence explain why some people suffer invasive bacterial infections while others do not? Despite its notoriety as a dangerous hospital-associated pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus is a commonly carried commensal, found in the noses of 30% of adults. From the perspective of the bacteria, invasive disease occurs rarely compared to asymptomatic carriage. In previous work, we investigated the evolutionary dynamics of nasal carriage, and discovered that in one long-term nasal carriage population an excess of protein-truncating substitutions was associated with the transition to a life-threatening invasive blood stream infection. Here, we report results of population-based and molecular studies we are conducting into the role of genetics and within-host evolution in the progression of invasive Staphylococcus aureus disease.
Danny Wilson is a Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the University of Oxford, where his laboratory investigates pathogen evolution and epidemiology via whole genome sequencing. He is a collaborator in the Modernising Medical Microbiology consortium whose aim is to harness genomics for microbiological diagonostics and infection control in hospitals. His work currently focuses on the identification of genetic variants in pathogen genomes that explain differences in the frequency and severity of infections, in particular hospital-associated infections includingStaphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile and norovirus. He has previously held positions at Lancaster University and the University of Chicago.
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