Maximising the utility of clinical samples collected in pregnancy for population-based microbiome analysis at scale

Research Opportunity
Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Number of Master Places Available
1
Department
Paediatrics
Location
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Richard Saffery richard.saffery@mcri.edu.au 83416341 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Melissa Wake melissa.wake@mcri.edu.au 83416200 Personal web page

Summary This project focuses on the Group B Streptococcus (GBS) swab, collected at 36 weeks gestation. It will involve a literature review to evaluate previous testing of these swabs for microbiome profiling (both 16S and metagenomics) and also direct testing of clinical sample handling parameters (across Victoria Pathology providers) on the downstream microbiome data generated by sequencing technologies.

Project Details

The rising prevalence of chronic conditions (such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, allergy, mental health) threatens to overwhelm health care systems internationally in coming decades. It is now clear that such conditions may have their origins even before birth, as a result of the environment experienced in utero. A key exposure that has yet to be assessed at scale is the maternal microbiome, passed from mother to child from birth.    Current approaches to pregnancy research generally involve recruitment and targeted collection of biological samples (biosamples) in pregnancy specifically for research purposes, but this is time consuming and costly. The Generation Victoria (GenV) Initiative aims to do things differently. GenV will approach all 160,000 births in 2021/2022 to build one of the largest population-based cohorts internationally. In contrast to traditional research approaches, GenV will curate and store all routinely collected clinical samples in pregnancy, for later (post consent) application of state-of-the-art research methodologies. It is envisaged that this approach will revolutionise biobanking for pregnancy research internationally.     This project focuses on the Group B Streptococcus (GBS) swab, collected at 36 weeks gestation. It will involve a literature review to evaluate previous testing of these swabs for microbiome profiling (both 16S and metagenomics) and also direct testing of clinical sample handling parameters (across Victoria Pathology providers) on the downstream microbiome data generated by sequencing technologies.    This project will provide a strong, evidence-based summary of the utility of GBS swabs collected in pregnancy for inclusion in the GenV Biorepository. It is anticipated that findings will form the basis of a publication.



Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine



Research Opportunities

Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

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

Department

Paediatrics

Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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