I am an Honours student at the University of Queensland, interested in microbiology and biochemistry with the goal of pursuing a research career. I enjoy computer coding, coffee and writing music.
Due to graduate Bachelor Advanced Science (Honours) in Nov 2020, University of Queensland
Developing a novel bioinformatic tool for identifying plasmids and their hosts within the human microbiome.
Plasmids are mobile extrachromosomal genetic units hosted by microorganisms that behave as a vessel for the sampling of potentially advantageous traits from a population’s gene pool. Despite their key role in microbial evolution and the spread of antibiotic resistance, the difficulty in identifying plasmids bioinformatically in metagenomic datasets means that they are typically overlooked in these kind of studies.
The development of a reference-free bioinformatic approach to plasmid discovery is foreseen to contribute significantly to understanding their role in microbial ecology.My honours project aims to trial and further optimise a prototype bioinformatic tool, RecurM, developed by Daniel Rawlinson at the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics in 2019. Unlike previous approaches, this tool does not rely on reference databases to identify a plasmid. The tool will be used on metagenomic datasets supplied by the Integrative Human Microbiome Project (HMP), which investigated host-microbiome dynamics over the course of inflammatory bowel disease.
Using this tool for the discovery, characterisation and association of novel plasmids with their microbial host will provide a starting point for not only further understanding the role of plasmids within complex biological environments but characterising inflammatory bowel disease dysbiosis.This project is supervised by Gene Tyson (CMR), Phil Hugenholtz (ACE), and Ben Woodcroft (CMR).
Australian Centre for Ecogenomics Level 5, Molecular Biosciences Bldg University of Queensland ST LUCIA QLD 4072 Brisbane, Australia