Other Research - Respiratory Research Unit

Respiratory Research Unit

The Respiratory Research Unit is focused on research into pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacterial infections and bronchiectasis. Both conditions are closed related and are increasing in prevalence in Queensland.

Nontuberculous mycobacteria are environmental pathogens and are a cause of chronic lung disease. These can infect patients with pre-existing bronchiectasis and can cause progressive bronchiectasis in otherwise apparently healthy people.

Our projects

Innate Immunity

In conjunction with the Thoracic Research group at Prince Charles Hospital and collaborators at the University of WA in separate projects, we are investigating why apparently healthy people develop lung disease due to NTM. As the organisms are in the environment and we are all exposed to them – what is about the immune system of some patients that puts them at risk of disease?

Epidemiology

With the School of Population Health we are currently investigating the distribution of NTM disease throughout QLD and relationships with environmental factors such as rainfall, temperature, and relative humidity.

Strain typing of M. kansasii

Carla Tolson (Masters Project, QUT) is comparing various strain typing techniques for M. kansasii and comparing the strains identified over the last 10 years. Environmental and human strains will be compared.

Whole genome sequencing of M. abscessus isolates

in collaboration with the University of Cambridge.

The significance of M. abscessus in Cystic Fibrosis

Dr Amy Reynolds, Assoc Prof Scott Bell (TPCH), Dr Rachel Thomson.

Outcomes of M. abscessus infections in QLD

Dr Michael Holt, Dr Andrew Burke, Dr Rachel Thomson

Experience with Clofazimine in treatment of NTM infections

Dr Michael Trotter, Dr Andrew Burke, Dr Rachel Thomson in conjunction with the NTM-net.

Experience with Amikacin in treatment of NTM infections in QLD

Dr Claire Ellender (PAH), Dr Geoff Eather (PAH), Dr Rachel Thomson

Our team

Led by Dr Rachel Thomson, our group consists of a number of researchers across different disciplines, working together to collaboratively investigate different aspects of NTM disease.

Queensland Mycobacterial Reference Laboratory

Scientists: Carla Tolson, Robyn Carter
Infectious Diseases Physician and Laboratory Director: Dr Chris Coulter

Queensland University of Technology

Associate Professor Flavia Huygens
Adjunct Associate Professor Megan Hargreaves

The Prince Charles Hospital, Thoracic Research Laboratory

Associate Professor Ian Yang
Associate Professor Scott Bell
Dr Andrew Burke

Collaborators

University of Queensland, School of Population Health

Archie Clements, Associate Professor in Infectious Diseases

University of Western Australia

Professor Patricia Price
Associate Professor Grant Waterer

University of Cambridge, UK

Dr Andres Floto
Principal Investigator & Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow
Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

Princess Alexandra Hospital Respiratory Department

Dr Geoff Eather
Dr Claire Ellender

University of Queensland, School of Population Health

Archie Clements, Associate Professor in Infectious Diseases

Publications

Rachel Thomson, Carla Tolson, Robyn Carter, Flavia Huygens, and Megan Hargreaves. Factors associated with the isolation of Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) from a large municipal water system in Brisbane, Australia. BMC Microbiology 2013, 13; 89

Rachel Thomson, Carla Tolson, Flavia Huygens, Megan Hargreaves Mycobacterium abscessus in potable water – a potential source of human infection. BMC Infectious Diseases 2013; 13; 241

W. Hoefsloot, J. van Ingen*, C. Andrejak, K. Ängeby, R. Bauriaud, P. Bemer, M.J. Boeree, J. Cacho , E. Chimara, R. Cias, R. Dasa, P.N.R. Dekhuijzen, D. Domingo, F. Drobniewski, J. Esteban, M. Fauville-Dufaux, D.B. Folkvardsen, N. Gibbons, E. Gómez-Mampaso , R. Gonzalez , H. Hoffmann, P.R. Hsueh, A. Indra, T. Jagielski, F. Jamieson, M. Jankovic, J. Keane, W.J. Koh, S. Leao, R. Macedo, T. Mannsåker, T. Marras, J. Maugein, H. Milburn, T. Mlinkó, N. Morcillo, K. Morimoto, D. Papaventis, E. Palenque, M. Paez-Peña, C. Piersimoni, M. Polanová, N. Rastogi, E. Richter, M.J. Ruiz-Serrano, A. Silva, H. Simsek, D. van Soolingen, N. Szabó, R. Thomson, M.T. Tórtola Fernandez, E. Tortoli, S.E. Totten, G. Tyrrell, T. Vasankari, M. Villar, R. Walkiewicz, K. Winthrop, D. Wagner for NTM-NET. A snapshot of the geographic diversity of nontuberculous mycobacteria isolated from pulmonary samples: An NTM-net collaborative study. European Respiratory Journal April 18,2013 (epub ahead of print)

Henry Marshall, Robyn Carter, Matthew Torbey, Sharri Minion, Carla Tolson, Flavia Huygens, Megan Hargreaves, Rachel Thomson. Mycobacterium lentiflavum in drinking water supplies, Australia. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2011; 17(3):395-402

Rachel Thomson. The changing epidemiology of Pulmonary Nontuberculous mycobacterial infections. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2010; 16:1576-83

Miriam Grech, Robyn Carter, Rachel Thomson. Clinical significance of Mycobacterium asiaticum isolates in Queensland, Australia. J Clin Micro 2010;48:162-167

Rachel Thomson, W.-W. Yew. When and how to treat pulmonary non-tuberculous mycobacterial diseases. Respirology 2009; 14(1):12-26. (Top 10 article for 2009)

Rachel Thomson, Robyn Carter, Chris Gilpin, Chris Coulter, and Megan Hargreaves. A Comparison of Methods for Processing Drinking Water Samples for the Isolation of Mycobacterium avium and intracellulare. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.2008:74;3094-3098

Rachel M Thomson, John G Armstrong, David F Looke. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), acid suppression and Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC) Pulmonary Disease. Chest 2007;131;1166-1172 IF 4.008

Abstracts and Presentations

Carla Tolson, Rachel Thomson, Flavia Huygens. Genotyping of M. kansasii: comparing human and environmental isolates. American Society of Microbiology scientific meeting, Denver 2013

Rachel Thomson, Carla Tolson, Robyn Carter, Chris Coulter, Flavia Huygens, and Megan Hargreaves. Pathogenic Nontuberculous Mycobacteria In The Brisbane Potable Water Distribution System. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med., May 2011; 183: A2395.

Henry Marshall, Robyn Carter, Matthew Torbey, Sharri Minion, Carla Tolson, Flavia Huygens, Megan Hargreaves, Rachel Thomson. Mycobacterium lentiflavum in drinking water supplies, Australia. European Respiratory Society Barcelona, Spain 2010. Poster Presentation.

M Grech, RM Thomson. Mycobacterium asiaticum Disease in Queensland, Australia.Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med., Apr 2009; 179: A5271. American Thoracic Society San Diego 2009.

RM Thomson, DFM Looke, A Konstantinos. Five year follow-up of Pulmonary Mycobacterium Avium-Intracellulare Complex (MAC) Disease in Queensland (QLD), Australia. American Thoracic Society San Diego 2005 Poster presentation.

RM Thomson, DFM Looke, A Konstantinos. Clinical features and Five year follow-up of Pulmonary Mycobacterium Avium-Intracellulare Complex (MAC) Disease in Queensland (QLD), Australia. Respirology Mar 2005;10:80. Proceedings TSANZ Perth 2005.

RM Thomson, DFM Looke, A Konstantinos. Significance of Pulmonary Mycobacterial Isolates in Queensland. Respirology Mar 2005;10:A21. Proceedings TSANZ Perth 2005

RM Thomson, DFM Looke. Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease, Acid Suppression and Pulmonary Mycobacterium Avium Complex Disease. 2001 Respirology. Poster presentation TSANZ – Best Poster TB & Infectious Diseases SIG. Poster Presentation ASID 2001 – finalist best poster.

RM Thomson, DFM Looke. Mycobacterium Avium Complex Pulmonary Disease in QLD in 1999. 2001 Respirology. Poster Presentation at the TSANZ (Best Poster Award Infectious Diseases SIG) and ASID conferences 1999.

RM Thomson, JG Armstrong, DFM Looke. Mycobacterium kansasii in QLD: 1988-99. Oral presentation at TSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting April 2000

How to contact us

Research

Dr Rachel Thomson
Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation
Greenslopes Private Hospital
Newdegate Street
GREENSLOPES QLD 4120

Phone: (07) 3847 8890
Email: R.Thomson@uq.edu.au

Patient referrals

Pulmedica, Greenslopes Private Hospital
Newdegate Street, Greenslopes, QLD 4120

Phone: (07) 3847 8890
Fax: (07) 3847 8891
Email: admin@pulmedica.com.au

The Prince Charles Hospital, Thoracic Medicine

Mycobacterial Diseases Clinic
Dr Rachel Thomson, Dr Chris Coulter, Dr Andrew Burke

Phone: (07) 3139 5285
Fax: (07) 3139 5067
Email: lianne_cullen@health.qld.gov.au

Metropolitan South Tuberculosis Service

Dr Rachel Thomson

Phone: (07) 3176 4141
Fax: (07) 3176 4194