Infectious disease control needs to be made more “sustainable”. We need to reduce selective pressure on pathogens to evolve antibiotic resistance. We need to control infectious disease outbreaks and associated immune disorders with a better understanding of the genetic, environmental and social factors that impact disease spread and severity.
Genomics and bioinformatics provide powerful methods that can aid such efforts and improve our understanding of microbial virulence, microbial evolution and ourselves. The Brinkman laboratory comprises an interdisciplinary bioinformatics and “wet-lab” environment, investigating microbes and their diseases in the following ways:
(1) Investigating the role in disease of both the microbe and its host (i.e immune system failure, including allergy and asthma), using genomics and systems biology-based approaches
(2) Using genomics and network analysis to characterize disease outbreaks, their epidemiology, their evolution, and their environmental/social/genetic causes, and
(3) Identifying new anti-infective and immune modulating therapies/biomarkers.
Our health, and the health of the environment and other animals, are interconnected. So we are also applying our approaches to “One Health” settings – applying our methods to aid environmental and animal health research efforts.
The overall goal is to capitalize on a combined bioinformatics and wet lab approach, integrating large datasets, to better understand key themes in infectious disease etiology and aid development of more sustainable approaches for disease management in a One Health context.