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A holistic approach to the early origins of childhood asthma

Primary supervisor

Celine Pattaroni

With up to 1 in 9 Australians affected and an incidence on the rise, there is a clear need to understand the mechanisms driving asthma. This research project aims to dig deep into the early origins of this disease using cutting-edge sequencing technologies in order to identify targets that could be the focus of new therapies and prevention strategies. Historically, studies have focused on one specific aspect of the disease; for example genetics and heritability, environmental factors, microbiome, or respiratory infections. But asthma is a complex multifactorial disease and each individual approach cannot capture the entire pathophysiological mechanisms underlying its development. By using the latest advances in ‘omics’ technologies on a unique sample set of asthmatic children, this project aims to provide an integrative view of the early origins of the disease. More specifically, we aim to discover molecular biomarkers of the disease (microbial, immune and metabolic) prior to its development which would serve as a platform for novel therapeutic intervention strategies that would redirect infants on a high-risk trajectory towards health.
The student will be working on establishing bioinformatics pipelines on a high performance computing cluster for dual high throughput DNA and RNA sequencing data analyses and multi-omics data integration. Coding skills in R and bash are required and completion of advanced units in bioinformatics preferred.

Student cohort

Double Semester