Dr. Conlan is interested in scientific problems that lie at the intersection of biology and bioinformatics. As part of the Microbial Genomics Section (MGS), Dr. Conlan applies cutting edge sequencing and analysis to problems associated with hospital-acquired infections, in particular carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). CRE are formidable gram-negative bacterial pathogens that pose a serious threat to hospitalized patients around the globe. CRE are resistant to most, if not all, antibiotics, with investigations reporting as high as a 40 to 80 percent mortality rate from infection.
A common feature of CRE is that genes encoding resistance to antibiotics are carried on mobile DNA sequences called plasmids that can be shared between distantly related bacteria. The MGS uses both Illumina short-read sequencing and PacBio long-read sequencing to characterize isolates from patients and the environment. Dr. Conlan uses these data to compare bacterial isolates, identify epidemiological connections and identify clinically important plasmids. He is particularly interested in identifying genomic features that connect patients to each other or to the environment.
Posted: December 9, 2016