University of Dundee

“Evolution and pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus at the human-livestock interface”

Event Date: 
Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 10:00
Event Location: 
MSI Small Lecture Theatre
Professor Tracy Palmer FRS FRSE FSB FAAM MEAM
Event Speaker: 
Prof Ross Fitzgerald
The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh
Event Type: 

Staphylococcus aureus is a major global pathogen. In addition to a wide spectrum of human diseases, S. aureus causes economically important infections of cows, sheep, poultry, and rabbits. We have been investigating the evolutionary history of S. aureus clones associated with different host species, the molecular basis for host-adaptation, and the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Using a time-scaled phylogenetic approach, we have identified ancient and recent host-switching events leading to the emergence of endemic and epidemic clones in humans and livestock. Comparative genomic analysis has resulted in the identification of specific mutations and mobile genetic elements which have contributed to the capacity to infect different hosts. Bacterial determinants required for host-specificity could represent novel targets for controlling human and animal infections. In this presentation, I will summarise some of our recent findings relating to the dynamics and mechanics of S. aureus host-adaptation, and the implications for veterinary and public health.