Dr Sanmarié Schlebusch is currently undertaking research with the University of Queensland:

“Assessing the effects of antibiotics on the gut microbiome – a metagenomic approach”.

This research involves:

The Gut and its microbiome in the Fight against Superbug Threats (GaimitFaST) research, which includes patients from the MERINO trials (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02437045) and patients admitted to the Royal Brisbane Hospital intensive care unit (ICU).

The human gut contains a vast array of micro-organisms that play an essential role in human health and disease. The use of antimicrobials has a detrimental effect on gut microbiota and increased risk for infection or colonisation with resistant organisms. The gastro-intestinal tract is a major reservoir for colonisation with multi-drug resistant pathogens. This study utilised whole genome sequencing on faecal samples and rectal swabs from hospitalised patients with a focus on three groups (no antibiotics, piperacillin-tazobactam or meropenem treatment), to describe changes to the relative microbial diversity in each patient sample set collected over time and compared between groups. In addition, changes to key organisms and antimicrobial resistance genes will be assessed. This work will inform decisions around antibiotic usage and have implications for preventing antimicrobial resistance transfer. The project also involves enhancing laboratory methodology, bioinformatics pipelines, and clinical interpretation of metagenomic sequencing to support utilisation in healthcare.