Molecular diagnostics and characterisation of Mycobacterium abscessus complex infections in cystic fibrosis

Presented by Amanda Bordin


Mycobacterium abscessus complex (MABSC) is a species of bacteria of increasing clinical concern. These bacteria are often found in soil and water (e.g. in Brisbane’s municipal water supply), and are generally considered non-pathogenic environmental organisms in these contexts. However, MABSC can act as an opportunistic pathogen in certain groups, such as people with cystic fibrosis (CF).

The considerable concern for MABSC infections is due to their extreme antimicrobial resistance, intensive treatment courses, and low rates of treatment success. As lifelong antibiotic users, CF patients have a particularly high risk of accumulating MABSC strains with acquired high-level resistance. This, coupled with recent evidence that MABSC can be transmitted between CF patients, has highlighted the need for monitoring MABSC and associated antimicrobial resistance in CF cohorts.

Current culture-dependent methods for detecting MABSC and resistance are time-intensive and may miss mixed or low-load infections. In this seminar, Amanda will discuss recent work in the development of rapid, culture-independent, molecular techniques for detecting MABSC and key predictors of antimicrobial resistance directly in samples from CF patients.

Amanda BordinAbout Amanda Bordin

Amanda Bordin is undertaking her PhD studies at the UQ Centre for Clinical Research in molecular microbiology. She is interested in improving outcomes for children with cystic fibrosis infected by Mycobacterium abscessus complex. Amanda’s work involves developing new molecular methods for detecting this organism and predicting antimicrobial resistance patterns directly in patient samples, as well as using genomic sequencing techniques to enhance understanding of this organism.

The Stem cell therapy: A new hope for neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy

Presented by Elliot Teo


Neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a life-threatening condition that occurs in 2-6 per 1000 live births in Australia. Recent data indicates that only 1 in 7 babies show long term benefits from the gold-standard treatment, calling for development if more effective interventions.  Stem cell therapy has demonstrated potential to improve outcomes after HI brain injury in animal models. This presentation will showcase preliminary data on the effects of placental stem cells from an ongoing study in our piglet model of HIE, and our vision moving forward.

Elliot TeoAbout Elliot Teo

Elliot commenced his Bachelor of Biomedical Science at The University of Queensland in 2013 and tailored the coursework for specialisation in neuroscience, anatomy and physiology During this time he participated in two research projects; the first characterised a novel C.elegans egg-laying mutant, and the second characterised the morphology of the neuromuscular junction in a laminin-β2 knock-out mouse. At the beginning of 2016, Elliot began an Honours project investigating the cerebral, respiratory and cardiovascular effects of vagus nerve stimulation in the rat and cat models. In October 2017, he commenced a Ph.D. project that aims to characterise a human placental stem cell preparation for the treatment of neonatal HIE. His investigations involve a detailed neuropathological assessment using both microscopy and MRI/S techniques to assess neuroprotective efficacy; proteomic screening and pathway analysis to understand the mechanisms that are altered by stem cell administration; and, deconstruction of the electrical activity of the brain and heart to evaluate their potential as prognostic markers to inform future clinical trials.

About UQCCR Seminar Series

UQCCR Seminar Series

The UQ Centre of Clinical Research (UQCCR) Seminars are held fortnightly on Wednesdays from 12 pm - 1 pm (except during school holidays) currently on Zoom. The series features topics in multiple research fields, presented by invited international, interstate and local researchers.