Our Research - Bacterial Carriage and Disease | Sharon Peacock
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Our Research

THE BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF BACTERIAL CARRIAGE AND DISEASE

Our current focus is on the biological basis of human carriage of the important human pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, supported by funding from a Wellcome Collaborative Award.

Carriage Study

Around 20% of people are persistent carriers of this bacterium, which increases their risk of S. aureus infection. Why some people carry this while others never do is not understood and is being addressed through the CARRIAGE study. After screening 20,000 people with nasal swabs to determine whether or not they are S. aureus carriers, their genomes and a range of other information is being analysed to identify associations with carrier status.

This programme is managed by Dr Ewan Harrison (Wellcome Sanger Institute & University of Cambridge). Laboratory work is performed by Katie Bellis and Sophia Girgis. Dr Dinesh Aggarwal is a Wellcome PhD Fellow based in the programme. Co-investigators include Professor John Danesh, Dr Carl Anderson, Professor Julian Parkhill, and Dr Joan Geoghegan.

TRANSLATING PATHOGEN SEQUENCING INTO CLINICAL AND PUBLIC HEATH MICROBIOLOGY

We want to make it increasingly feasible for routine microbiology laboratories to undertake whole genome sequencing. We are developing methods to support the proactive use of sequencing on pathogens associated with hospital acquired infections (such as MRSA) to provide rapid detection or exclusion of bacterial transmission and so support outbreak investigations. We are also developing methods to predict antibiotic resistance and detect genes that code for virulence factors such as toxins. Our work includes a focus on cost effectiveness in an NHS setting.

This programme is managed by Dr Kathy Raven (University of Cambridge), and funded by a Wellcome/Department of Health and Social Care HICF (Health Innovation Challenge Fund) award. Co-investigators include Professor Julian Parkhill and Dr’s Theo Gouliouris, Nick Brown and David Enoch.

THE BIOLOGY AND TRANSMISSION OF BACTERIAL PATHOGENS

Using a One Health approach, members of the Peacock group undertake bacterial genome-based studies to better define the possible sources of antibiotic resistant bacteria that cause serious infection in humans. This involves the isolation of bacteria (mostly Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecium) from patients and their ward environment, livestock farms, the food chain and sewage. Bacterial genomes from these different sources are compared to define their relatedness, including the genes that code for antibiotic resistance.

professor sharon peacock - One Health

This work is led by Dr Catherine Ludden, who is funded by a Wellcome Fellowship. Collaborators include Profs Mark Holmes, Julian Parkhill and Martin Cormican, and Dr’s Theo Gouliouris and Nick Brown.