The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

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Uncovering the microbiome of Australian ticks

The identification of emerging infectious diseases is of great medical and veterinary importance. Ticks (Acari: Ixodida) transmit a greater variety of pathogenic microorganisms than any other arthropod group, and are among the most important vectors of disease affecting humans and companion animals. Despite this there is little known about the pathogens ticks transmit to people and companion animals in Australia. We have developed a molecular toolkit to investigate the hypothesis that tick-borne pathogens are responsible for disease in humans and animals in Australia. Specifically, we are targeting the 16S rDNA hypervariable regions to detect a broad range of bacterial species to characterise the tick microbiome. One aim of this project is to: detect, identify, and genetically characterise zoonotic microorganisms carried by these ticks. The scale of the data analysis required by this work necessitates access to high performance computing.

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