Social Issues

Event Date: 
Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 15:00 - 19:00


JAMS will be presenting a seminar series at the Westmead Millennium Institute, held 3-7pm Thrusday October 8th.

Registration is free, please RVSP.
Afternoon tea and dinner with drinks will be provided.

Seminar Speakers:

Dr Cameron Webb – Plenary

Mosquito‐borne disease in Australia: emerging threats and novel solutions

Prof Shari Forbes

Profiling breath samples for detection of volatile bacterial ‘fingerprints’ in lung infections

Dr Carola Venturini

Gut microbial ecology: the side‐effects of antibiotic treatment

Dr Gurjeet Kohli

Hunt for toxin biosynthesis genes in dinoflagellates

Dr Matthew O’Sullivan

Managing healthcare workers with suspected Ebola in Sierra Leone

Connie Ha

The guts of lifestyle disease management: targeting host‐microbiome interactions for optimal intervention

Event Date: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 19:00 - 20:00

How microbial community structure is shaped


Microbes profoundly influence biological systems. Owing to their small individual size, but extremely large populations, their influence is typically an emergent property of the microbial community.  As such understanding how microbial community structure is shaped is a generic question relevant to almost all biological systems.
A major focus of my research is the interplay between diet, gut microbiota and health. Our health is the product of interplay between many different factors with arguably three of the most important being adequate nutrition, homeostatic regulation and exclusion of foreign cells. Gut functions influence all these, but occur in the immediate proximity of a huge community of microorganisms – our gut microbiome. The gut microbiome profoundly effects our health via its contribution to and influence on gut functions.
Arguably the most significant aspect of our gut microbiome is that differences in composition matter. The contribution of our microbiome to nutrition, metabolism, gut and immune functions varies from person-to-person. Thus the clinical manifestation of many diseases will be influenced by the individual’s microbiome. Secondly, environmental or lifestyle differences such as diet and hygiene may modulate microbiome composition and thus its influence on health. This gives rise to two basic opportunities for improving healthcare. These are, using the microbiome as a metric to improve diagnosis and targeting the microbiome for therapeutic intervention. We are specifically exploring forces that shape microbial community structure in mouse and human models of with a view to developing diagnostic and intervention strategies across a range of health issues. 

Event Date: 
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 18:00 - 18:15
University Technology Sydney

Development of an electrochemical biosensor for bacteria detection coupling immuno-capture with magnetic particles and amperometry at flow-channel microband electrodes.


Current technology is insufficient for rapid on-site identification of the causative agents for waterborne diseases and existing time-consuming detection results in delayed management decisions. Fast, reliable and low-cost methods for the screening of pathogens are paramount in fields such as the environment, food industry, healthcare and defense. With the constant progress of scientific knowledge, a fast diversification of detection techniques is occurring, brought about by the appearance of imaginative new concepts within the scientific community. Biosensors are a perfect example of the combination of multidisciplinary knowledge. They encompass many fundamental, technological and scientific advances in biology, chemistry and physics.
Here, we describe a recently developed electrochemical biosensor for the detection of bacteria cells in aqueous samples. The technology used for this detection combines immuno-magnetic capture and amperometric detection in a one-step sandwich format, and in a microfluidic environment. The whole assay could be completed in 1 h and the experiments performed with Escherichia coli evidenced a linear response for concentrations ranging 102–108 cell ml−1.

Metagenomics has been a hot topic at JAMS in 2011. Playing to this popular theme, Thomas Jeffries of the University of Technology, Sydney opened the final meeting for the year with his metagenomic analysis of taxonomic and functional patterns in South Australia's hypersaline Coorong Lagoon. Thomas and colleagues found shifts in the abundance of cyanobacteria and Archaea linked to a salinity and nutrient gradient along the lagoon, as well as a shift in the abundance of genes related to salinity tolerance and photosynthesis. Surprisingly, despite the extreme range of environmental factors within Coorong, they found these patterns were dwarfed when the lagoon samples were placed in a global context, which showed substrate - in this case, solid or fluid - had a greater influence on taxonomic profiles. Thomas's work shows the importance of scale in the relationship between a microbial community and its environment.

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