Quantifying risk factors of herpes zoster to improve prevention
Presenter: Jiahui Qian
Supervisory team: A/Prof Bette Liu, A/Prof Anita Heywood,
Dr Surendra Karki
Date of PhD commencement: August 2017
Herpes zoster is a neurocutaneous disease caused by the reactivation of varicella zoster virus. The lifetime risk of developing herpes zoster is estimated to be around 20-30% without herpes zoster vaccine and the risk increases to 50% among those who aged 85 and over. Known risk factors include older age and immunosuppression but the exact role of various risk factors has not been well quantified. The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between risk factors and herpes zoster where there is little or conflicting data and thus to inform priorities for prevention strategies in middle-aged and older adults. Given that a new non-live subunit zoster vaccine (HZ/su vaccine) has been shown to be safe and immunogenic in immunocompromised individuals, better understanding regarding the role of immunosuppressive factors in risk could also inform targeted vaccination strategies.
Tuberculosis infection control policies, practices and the risk of TB infection among healthcare workers
Presenter: Md Saiful Islam
Supervisory team: Dr Holly Seale, Dr Abrar Ahmad Chughtai
Date of PhD commencement: March 2018
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading infectious cause of human death in the globe. Healthcare workers (HCW) in high TB burden countries are at increased risk of TB compared to the general population due to their higher exposure to TB patients especially in treatment areas where there is no, or limited infection control (IC) health care measures are in place. To prevent healthcare associated TB infection, several global and national TB IC guidelines exist. However, there is very limited research undertaken examining the policies and the implementation gaps in low-resource high TB burden countries. This study focuses on the development, adoption and implementation of TB IC policies in 7 high TB burden countries, understand HCW occupational exposures to mycobacterium tuberculosis in public tertiary care hospitals, estimate the prevalence of TB infection among HCW in two tertiary care hospital and hospital readiness to implement national TB IC guideline in a high TB burden country.
Modelling the in-host dynamics and resistance development of N. gonorrhoeae
Presenter: Pavithra Jayasundara
Supervisory team: A/Prof James Wood, A/Prof David Regan, Dr Duleepa Jayasundara, Prof Matthew Law
Date of PhD commencement: March 2017
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) that has successfully evolved to survive within human hosts and to develop and maintain resistance to antibiotic drugs including treatments of last resort. Therefore, it has become essential to improve our understanding of the in-host interactions that contribute to the development of resistance. However, this has been challenging due to the inherent experimental limitations on cell culture, animal and human experimental models. As an attempt on addressing this knowledge gap, we developed a within-host mathematical model to describe the progression of untreated urethral infection in symptomatic men. Having understood the dynamics that are important to describe the natural infection we are now working on including antibiotic treatment to see the effect from antibiotics, especially how the drug combinations interact, the effectiveness of possible future treatment options and then extend this model to include resistance development and transmission.