Know your enemy

ARCMicrobialGenomics_wheel-grass-sheepDiseases such as leptospirosis, fowl cholera, bovine respiratory diseases or footrot in sheep have devastating impacts on livestock industries worldwide. They have a debilitating effect on animals, leading to food shortage and major economic losses.

Many of these diseases have proved difficult to control because we just don’t know enough about the enemy. We don’t know how various microbes interact to cause diseases such as footrot or bovine respiratory diseases.

Scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Structural and Functional Microbial Genomics are going back to basics to understand how microbes cause disease and how to stop them.

At the core of the Centre’s applied research program is the high-throughput microbial pipeline which starts with genome sequencing and proceeds to gene and protein analysis yielding an understanding of the structure and function of key proteins. The goal of the Centre is to identify proteins that will be key candidates to develop diagnostic tests, vaccines or drug targets to combat these diseases.

The work of the Centre has generated leading discoveries, such as uncovering the truth on the culprit toxin in necrotic enteritis in chickens. It is also developing vaccines against diseases such as fowl cholera, ovine footrot and bovine leptospirosis.

For more information: ARC Centre of Excellence in Structural and Functional Microbial Genomics, Desmond Gul, Tel: +61 (3) 9902 9187, www.microbialgenomics.net

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