Speaker’s Name: Dr Shu Mei Teo

Speaker’s Institution: The University of Melbourne

In the past decade, microbial pathogens have been shown to have a role in asthma pathogenesis, but most studies have focused primarily on viruses. Recent studies on the potential role of bacteria colonization in asthma development have found early postnatal nasopharyngeal colonization with specific bacteria pathogens to be associated with asthma at five years of age. It has also been observed that adult asthmatics have different respiratory colonization patterns, including differences in specific phyla, load and diversity, compared to non-asthmatic controls. However, most such studies have been restricted to a small number of specific bacteria pathogens detected by microbiological culture, and ignored the possible involvement of unexpected organisms. Recent studies using high-throughput sequencing have been restricted to a small sample size and mostly limited to adult subjects.
In this talk, I will be presenting on a study where we sequenced the V4 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene of more than 1000 nasopharyngeal aspirate samples from 234 children. We characterized the bacteria composition of the nasopharyngeal (NP) microbiome in asymptomatic infants during their first year of life. The subjects are part of a community-based cohort study of high allergy-risk children, followed from birth to ten years of age. For each child, we collected “baseline” NP aspirates when the child was healthy, as well as “infection” NP aspirates during each episode of acute respiratory infection. We observed a simple NP microbiome structure in which most communities were dominated by one or two genera such as Corynebacterium, Staphylococcus, Alloiococcus, Streptococcus, Moraxella or Haemophilus. However, the analysis suggests the microbiome is quite dynamic, with community profiles changing over time and dependent on infection status.

Seminar Convenors: Andriy Olenko

AGR IT Support: Darren Condon

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