We’re pleased to announce the winner of our recent “SMRTest Microbe” grant competition. Congratulations to Dr. Erin Price at the Menzies School of Health Research in Australia! The grant program, co-sponsored by PacBio and the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS), was very competitive, with more than 100 submitted proposals.
Dr. Price will receive SMRT® Sequencing and analysis from IGS — using up to 4 SMRTbell™ libraries and 8 SMRT Cells — to characterize the mechanisms behind the emergence of antibiotic resistance in Burkholderia pseudomallei, a highly pathogenic bacterium that causes the potentially deadly disease melioidosis. Dr. Price and colleagues have recently uncovered the development of meropenem resistance in local cases of B. pseudomallei infection, along with evidence that this resistance is linked to at least two mortalities in Australia so far.
Prior short-read-based attempts to sequence and assemble the genomes of these meropenum-resistant B. pseudomallei have suffered from the inability to scaffold across highly repetitive and paralogous loci, low genome complexity, high GC content, and genomic inversions. Dr. Price plans to use the long reads generated by SMRT Sequencing to overcome these assembly issues and close the genomes. As noted in her proposal, complete genome sequences “will provide significant insights into the molecular basis of meropenem resistance in this dangerous pathogen.”