Dunstan Group

Department / Centre
The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Sarah Dunstan (03) 9035 4870

Project Details

  1. Human and pathogen genomics of tuberculosis

    To develop effective therapies for tuberculosis it is crucial to fully understand disease pathogenesis and why only some individuals are susceptible to disease. Supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Singapore, in collaboration with Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) Vietnam, Sarah’s group is investigating the interplay between the human host and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. They are employing a genomics approach to discover novel tuberculosis-associated genes in the Vietnamese, determining the contribution of bacterial genomic variability on tuberculosis outcome and drug resistance, and identifying the interaction between host and pathogen genetic variability in susceptibility to pulmonary tuberculosis. Complementary to this they are investigating the human genetic factors responsible for severe extra-pulmonary disease by performing genome-wide associations studies of tuberculosis meningitis.
  2. Human genomics and integrated “omics” of enteric fever in Asia and Africa

    The interface between human host and pathogen likely has a critical role in determining outcome during enteric fever infection. Little is known about human host determinants influencing susceptibility to enteric fever so Sarah’s group is performing genome-wide association studies of patients from Vietnam and Nepal in collaboration with the Genome Institute of Singapore. Through a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award, these human genomics studies are being expanded to include enteric fever populations from Bangladesh and Malawi with the aim to discover novel typhoid disease associations amenable to clinical translation. Additionally, as part of a team supported by NHMRC, they will integrate these host genomic studies with pathogen genomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic studies of typhoid fever infections to identify key immune and metabolic pathways that can be exploited for vaccine design and next-generation diagnostics.
  3. Human genomics of malaria

    As part of the global MalariaGEN genomics epidemiology network ( and in collaboration with OUCRU Vietnam, Sarah’s group is investigating human genetic factors that protect people against severe malaria by performing genome-wide association studies of malaria.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

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