At the 2018 Otago Spotlight Series: Infectious Disease Research forum held in Wellington, four of the Webster Centre's leading researchers presented their work. Recordings of their presentations are now available below.
Professor Gregory M Cook, FRSNZ
Topic: Opportunities for Infectious Disease Research in New Zealand: a Biomedical Perspective.
Professor Greg Cook's research is focused on developing bacterial metabolism and energetics as a new target space for drug development to combat bacterial pathogens in humans (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and treat and prevent disease in food animals and plants. The goal of this work is to produce new and fast-acting drugs that will address the issues of antimicrobial resistance and persistence.
Cook leads a multidisciplinary science team:
- Cook Lab
- Greg Cook: Opportunities for Infectious Disease Research in New Zealand: a Biomedical Perspective (PDF 2.1 MB)
- Greg Cook: Opportunities for Infectious Disease Research in New Zealand: a Biomedical Perspective (32 minutes, YouTube)
Dr Jo Kirman
Topic: Deciphering the protective immune response to Tuberculosis
Dr Jo Kirman's areas of research include Animal Disease, Applied and Molecular Immunology, Medical Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, Vaccines Immunology and Technology.
Her primary research focus is the generation and maintenance of the protective T-cell immune response to Tuberculosis (TB). Tuberculosis kills over one million people worldwide each year. Additionally, she is interested in how to prevent paediatric infectious diseases including human respiratory syncytial virus and rotavirus.
- Kirman Lab
- Jo Kirman: Deciphering the protective immune response (PDF 1.1 MB)
- Jo Kirman: Deciphering the protective immune response (18.5 minutes, YouTube)
Professor Kurt Krause
Topic: New anti-microbial development based on targeting the enzyme, glutamate racemase
Professor Kurt Krause is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Otago.
He has a longstanding interest in structure and function in biology and his research areas include the structure and function of enzymes and proteins important in infectious diseases, such as bacterial pathogenesis factors, antibiotic targets, viral immunomodulatory proteins, and bioluminescence related proteins.
- Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases
- Kurt Krause: Spotlight 2018 Infectious Diseases (PDF 2.1 MB)
- Kurt Krause: Spotlight 2018 Infectious Diseases (20 minutes, YouTube)
Dr James Ussher
Topic: New technologies for diagnostics
Dr James Ussher's research interest is infection and immunity. In particular, he is interested in mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, their role in antibacterial immunity, and how they might be harnessed to prevent or treat bacterial infection.
He has been involved in several fundamental discoveries in MAIT cell biology. He is also interested in the antimicrobial resistance, in particular its rapid detection, characterisation, and transmission, especially in Enterobacteriaceae. His clinical specialty is medical microbiology.
- Ussher Lab
- James Ussher: New sequencing technologies for infectious diseases (PDF 3.6 MB)
- James Ussher: New sequencing technologies for infectious diseases (22 minutes, YouTube)
The biennial meeting was sponsored jointly by Queenstown Molecular Biology; Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases; School of Biomedical Sciences; Maurice Wilkins Centre; One Health Aotearoa; New Zealand Food Safety Science & Research Centre; Ferrier; D4 Network and was convened by Professor Greg Cook, University of Otago and Dr Nikki Moreland, University of Auckland.
Sessions covered were microbial pathogen genomes, infection and immunity, tuberculosis, drug discovery and novel therapeutics and vaccines, GAS and viral pathogenesis.
Confirmed speakers included:
Eng Eong Ooi, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore
John Blanchard, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Michael Kelso, University of Wollongong, Australia
Suzanne Gebhard, University of Bath, UK
Elizabeth Hartland, Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne
Nigel French, Massey University
Jacelyn Loh, University of Auckland
Deborah Williamson, Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne
Htin-Lin-Aung, University of Otago
David Murdoch, University of Otago, Christchurch
Amy Chung, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne
Mike Taylor, University of Auckland
Gary Evans, Ferrier Research Institute
David Goldstone, University of Auckland
Matloob Husain, University of Otago
Rob Fagerlund, University of Otago
Premier Poster prizes were awarded to:
- Dr Tom Li, University of Auckland, for poster entitled "Are plants the answer to the global antibiotic resistance crisis?"
- Dr Bhamini Rangnekar, University of Otago, for poster entitled "A combination of dry powder formulation for treating latent and drug-resistant tuberculosis"
Poster prizes were awarded to:
- Dr Mel Knottenbelt, University of Otago, for poster entitled "Investigating the evolution of the antitubercular drug bedaquiline"
- Dr Ian Monk, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne, Australia for poster entitled "Phosphatase activity of the essential Histidine Kinase WalK in Staphylococcus aureus"
- Dr Peter Choi, University of Auckland, for 'most translatable poster' entitled "Synthetic studies towards the development of less lipophilic drug of bedaquiline" (sponsored by D4 Network, University of Otago)
This meeting was a great opportunity for those working in the field of microbiology and infectious diseases, pathogenomics, drug discovery and viral pathogenesis to present their research and facilitate collaborations. The official meeting website can be found at http://www.queenstownresearchweek.org/infectious-diseases/
This biennial meeting was sponsored jointly by WCID, QMB and the Maurice Wilkins Centre which is being organised by Professor Gregory Cook and Dr Deborah Williamson. Sessions covered were tuberculosis, host-pathogen interactions, the microbiome, Clostridium difficile, drug discovery and novel therapeutic approaches, advances in molecular diagnostics and metabolite profiling, and included a special joint session with the 2015 Digestive Diseases QMB satellite.
Keynote speakers included:
- William Jacobs, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
- Mark Walker, University of Queensland
- Scott Beatson, Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre
- Dean Crick, Colorado State University
- Nigel French, Massey University
- John Fraser, University of Auckland
- Gerald Tannock, University of Otago
- Ayesha Verrall, University of Otago
- David Murdoch, University of Otago
- Deborah Williamson, University of Otago
- Kurt Krause, University of Otago
- Una Ren, Victoria University of Wellington
- Michael Berney, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
- Nikki Moreland, University of Auckland
- Chris Greening, CSIRO, Canberra
- Lyn Wise, University of Otago
- Frank Griffin, University of Otago
- James Ussher, University of Otago
Please view travel scholarships which were awarded for this meeting.
- 2013 Webster Centre Symposium
- 2011 Webster Centre Symposium
- 2009 Webster Centre Symposium
- 2007 Webster Centre computational biology mini-symposium
- 2007 Webster Centre Symposium