Despite dramatic advances in sequencing and associated techniques, the central challenge for understanding infections has remained. Why does a given bacteria cause disease?
Recent collaborations to develop both experimental and computational methods for understanding why Campylobacter jejuni recently became a worrying cause of infection-associated abortion in sheep in the US. This project offers clear lessons for understanding why other bacteria are able to cause disease and conceptually unites two other major efforts in the lab: the development of better genetic tools for E. coli and the sequence analysis of bacterial outbreaks, most notably an outbreak in Singapore caused by a new foodborne infection route for Group B Streptococcus.
These new methods provide a glimpse of even higher potential in using genomics to study infectious diseases in the coming years.
Dr. Swaine Chen
Associate Professor of Medicine at the National University of Singapore and a Group Leader at the Genome Institute of Singapore.
Dr. Chen’s research interests include trying to understand how some bacteria are proficient at causing infections in humans. He also has expertise in the application of genomics for the investigation of infectious outbreaks, which has helped lead to the discovery of a previously unknown foodborne illness caused by Group B Streptococcus in Singapore and Southeast Asia.