The power of microbial genomics to transform clinical and public health microbiology is being realised globally, with microbial sequencing improving capacity in many areas including disease diagnosis, outbreak detection and response, microbial characterisation and our understanding of the evolution of antimicrobial resistance. Unlike countries such as the US and UK that have already invested in the application of microbial genomics within their public health systems, Australia is yet to invest in this area despite already possessing significant national capacity in microbial genomics for microbiological research.
Doherty Applied Microbial Genomics was established in 2015 with the objective of transitioning microbial genomics technologies into the Australian health care system. The initiative is funded by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at The University of Melbourne and is situated within the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory (MDU PHL), which provides a microbiological reference, characterisation and advisory service to the public health community. The Directors are Prof Ben Howden (medical Director) and A/Prof Tim Stinear (Scientific Director) who bring with them a wealth of experience in the areas of microbial genomics and public health and clinical microbiology. the Bioinformatics component of the initiative is led by A/ Prof Torsten Seeman, a globally recognised bioinformatician, with extensive expertise in the development of bioinformatics tools and the analysis of microbial genomic data.
We believe that the most effective way to bring about change is through national collaboration. As such we have established a network of national and international partners that we will work with to perform collaborative research designed to advance our knowledge on the use of microbial genomics in public health and clinical microbiology. Through this research we hope to inform policy by highlighting the feasibility of using microbial genomics within the clinical setting and therefore help to improve the health and wellbeing of the population within Australia.
Outside of our direct research efforts we are also committed to providing high-level training to scientists, bioinfomaticians and clinicians through a range of research-led activities and provide support for undergraduate initiatives within the field of applied microbial genomics. It is our strong belief that education and teaching are critical and through our training programs we hope to provide leadership, advice and policy development directly relevant to the future implementation of applied microbial genomics in Australia.