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Division of Microbiology and Infection Seminar

18 June 2014, 12pm-1pm, GLT2, Warwick Medical School Building, University of Warwick

'Using genomics to understand the global spread of an E. coli superbug'



Dr Scott Beatson, Microbial Genomics Group Leader, Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences


Escherichia coli ST131 is a globally disseminated, multidrug resistant (MDR) clone responsible for a high proportion of urinary tract and bloodstream infections. The rapid emergence and successful spread of E. coli ST131 is strongly associated with several factors, including resistance to fluoroquinolones, high virulence gene content, the possession of the type 1 fimbriae FimH30 allele and the production of the CTX-M-15 extended spectrum beta-lactamase. We used genome sequencing to examine the molecular epidemiology of a collection of 95 E. coli ST131 strains isolated from six distinct geographical locations across the world spanning 2000-2011. The global phylogeny of E. coli ST131, determined from whole-genome sequence data, revealed a single globally dispersed lineage of E. coli ST131 distinct from other extra-intestinal E. coli strains within the B2 phylogroup, and demonstrates the role of mobile genetic elements and recombination in the evolution of this important MDR pathogen. This presentation will highlight the approaches developed in the Beatson lab ( for analysing and visualising multiple bacterial genome sequences, as well as the assembly of complete genomes for representative E. coli strains using PacBio sequence data.


Scott Beatson

Scott Beatson obtained a PhD in 2002 for his work on Pseudomonas aeruginosa genomics and pathogenesis with Prof John Mattick and Dr Cynthia Whitchurch at The University of Queensland. Previously he completed a BSc and MSc in Microbiology at the University of Otago, New Zealand. As a postdoctoral researcher he was awarded fellowships to study genomics at the University of Oxford (UK) with Prof Chris Ponting and at the University of Birmingham (UK) with Prof Mark Pallen. Since returning to The University of Queensland in 2006 as a NHMRC Howard Florey Fellow he has combined his interests in genomics and bacterial infectious diseases to establish a research group in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.