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.

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.

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Current projects

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Geospatial Analysis

The aims of this study are to describe the trends in reported NTM incidence in the last 16 years in the state of Queensland and to examine if increased in incidence occurred in particular areas of Queensland and for specific NTM species. Exploration of climatic, geospatial and major weather events as...

Whole genome sequencing of M. abscessus isolates

in collaboration with the University of Cambridge.

Outcomes of M. abscessus infections in QLD

Dr Michael Holt, Dr Andrew Burke, Dr Rachel Thomson

Molecular epidemiology of M. abscessus

This project will consider the whole genome sequencing of patient and environmental isolates of M. abscessus. The emerging problem of non-tuberculous mycobacteria infection: understanding aetiology, geospatial epidemiology and developing interventions is funded by a NHMRC project grant. This national...

Immunoprofiling of NTM infection patients

The increasing global incidence of non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infection is of growing concern. New evidence of person-to-person transmission of multidrug-resistant NTM adds to the global concern. The reasons why certain individuals are at risk of these infections is unknown. Using high definition...

A Comparative Pharmacokinetic Study of Antibiotics for the Treatment of Non-Tuberculous Mycobacteria in Patients with CF

Tuberculous Mycobacteria in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis This study led by Dr Andrew Burke, aims to provide answers as to how drugs for the treatment of MABSC and other NTM pathogens such as MAC are metabolized so that safer and more effective treatment guidelines can be established for people with...

Long-term macrolide therapy-oropharyngeal dysbiosis & spread of resistant pathogens

Erythromycin and Azithromycin are medications used in bronchiectasis and chronic respiratory diseases to prevent recurrent exacerbations. In using these medications we need to balance their benefits with the subsequent risk of developing resistant bacteria. It has been shown in previous studies that...

M. szulgai infections in Qld

An investigation by Dr Nick Sowden Mycobacterium szulgai is a rarely isolated slow-growing nontuberculous mycobacterium that when positively cultured is considered to have pathological significance. Although current literature case reports exist as well as two separate retrospective analyses from Korea...

M. triplex infections in Qld

An investigation by Justine Gibson A rare cause of human disease, mycobacterium triplex is a slow-growing nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) that was first described in 1996. This retrospective study reviews the epidemiology, clinical features, outcomes and drug susceptibility testing of mycobacterium...

Genotypes for Mycobacterium Intracellulare in Qld

An investigation by Robyn Carter Mycobacterium avium Complex (MAC) is a group of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria which includes M. avium and M. intracellulare. MAC organisms, particularly M. intracellulare, are a significant cause of pulmonary infections in older patients, often in the presence of...

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