Microbes are continuously adapting to their hosts; this results in changes to their DNA over long periods of time.
These changes can be traced and analysed using bioinformatics tools. The Marshall Centre has specialised programs in the evolution of Helicobacter pylori with Dr Barry Marshall and Dr Alfred Tay, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae with Dr Charlene Kahler.
Current research projects
Genome evolution of Helicobacter pylori
H.pylori has had an intimate association with humans ever since modern humans left Africa and before. If we track its history, we can also understand our own.
Looking at the evolutionary tree of all of the H.pylori strains in our collection and combining this information with our data on patients' place of birth, we can better understand the evolution of the bacterium and how it has moved around the globe with its human hosts. We can ask when were the first migrations into Australia?