Congratulations to Dr Htin Lin Aung (Cook Lab) who is this year's recipient of the Illumina Emerging Researcher Award. The award recognises and acknowledges an emerging researcher (less than 5 years post-PhD) who uses molecular biology tools in New Zealand, and is accompanied by a recipient presentation at next month's Queenstown Molecular Biology (QMB) meeting.
The comments made were as follows: "Dr Aung carried out his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at University of Otago, completing his PhD (2013) with Professor Greg Cook of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. In 2017 he won a prestigious Sir Charles Hercus Research Fellowship. He has developed a strong reputation in the molecular biology and public health aspects of mycobacteria, publishing 18 peer-reviewed papers and taking a lead authorship role on 12 of these. The strength of his research activities and the efforts he has put into translation of this research make Dr Aung an outstanding recipient of the 2018 Illumina™ Emerging Researcher Award."
Htin will give a talk entitled Next-generation sequencing as a molecular weapon to combat tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a curable disease caused mainly by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), and yet paradoxically it claims over 4500 lives daily. Of growing concern is the prevalence of multi- (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) being the main cause of deaths related to antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The main reason we are losing the war against drug-resistant TB is the lack of rapid and accurate diagnosis and knowledge on how they spread. Next-generation sequencing technologies have revolutionised microbiological, clinical and public health infectious diseases practice. In my award talk at the Queenstown Molecular Biology meeting, I will discuss how we employ these technologies to combat drug-resistant TB on the frontline in high drug-resistant TB burden settings.