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Farm to fork or there and back again

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Seminar
30 April 2013, 11am: Free
at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee
for scientists, researchers and other interested parties
Two lambs in a field

Dr Ken Forbes of the University of Aberdeen will give a seminar "Farm to fork or there and back again" focussing on the bacteria Campylobacter at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee. It will be broadcast live to the Aberdeen site. The seminar is being hosted by Dr Nicola Holden of Cell and Molecular Sciences.

Abstract

Campylobacter are Gram-negative bacteria that live commensally in the gastrointestinal tracts of a wide range of animals and birds, including farmed species and companion animals. Some Campylobacter species are also zoonotic human pathogens causing diarrhoea and have now become recognised as the commonest known cause of bacterial infectious intestinal disease worldwide. Campylobacter infection causes almost half of all such cases in the UK.

The contemporaneous sampling and collection of Campylobacter isolates from human, food and environmental sources, in combination with the molecular genotyping of these isolates and the use of state of the art molecular attribution modelling has allowed an integrated and quantitated determination of the relative importance of the different sources of Campylobacter on the incidence of human disease.

Recently, the falling costs of next generation DNA sequencing of whole bacterial genomes in combination with the 500-fold increase in genotypic data has opened exciting new possibilities in high resolution molecular attribution techniques.

Biography

Ken has over 20 years of experience in the study of the molecular epidemiology and evolution of bacterial species of importance in human disease. These include Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other mycobacterial species, E. coli O157, Campylobacter, Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella pneumoniae and several others.

Molecular methodologies focus on DNA sequence data (PCR, MLST, VNTR/MLVA, whole genome), in combination with epidemiological and spatio-temporal information and antimicrobial susceptibility determination.

Current studies are focusing on the molecular epidemiology of Campylobacter, the commonest gastrointestinal bacterial infection in the UK, in which the epidemiology of human cases and the identification of the sources of this foodborne disease are being examined. The genetic bases of Campylobacter host association is also under study using a population whole genome approach.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.