The sixth abstract of one of the talks which will be held at our 2nd Symposium: "The Next 10 Years of Genome Content Management" on 29th March held at Cambridge, Babraham Research Campus.
The title is: Exploiting whole genome sequencing for public health microbiology
Presented by: Jonathan Green, Head of Bioinformatics, Health Protection Agency
"Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) represents a revolution in DNA sequencing technologies, making routine rapid analysis of the complete DNA sequence of viral and bacterial genomes a reality. It is already the case that microbiological investigations of any significant outbreak of infectious disease include whole genome sequencing (WGS) of a putative causative agent. for example pandemic influenza strains, MRSA and Acinetobacter baumannii.
The potential impact of these technologies on Organisations such as the HPA is far-reaching. The bioinformatics challenges of NGS and other 'omic technologies, in terms of IT infrastructure for the storage and management of the large amounts of data generated, are well-known but not resolved. A key challenge is how to ensure it has the appropriate workforce capability for the analysis of these data in order to best use the extracted information for public health purposes. This requires meaningful integration of 'omics data with other laboratory information pipelines, clinical datasets and surveillance systems which is a significant challenge. Public health microbiology is increasingly 'data-rich' and laboratory scientists are being required to spend more of their time on data analysis using desktop bioinformatics tools or working with bioinformaticians to deliver these analyses, and this will increase as automation replaces much of the current manual approach to development of data. This is likely to create a significant shift in the skill-mix required to deliver reference microbiology, epidemiology and surveillance. The need to enhance microbiology and to integrate molecular typing into International as well as national surveillance context is recognised as paramount and needs to be a component of the current strategy.The presentation will aim to describe the relevance and likely impact of these technologies on public health microbiology, to describe the challenges and the work being undertaken to provide a platform for further development."