Antimicrobial resistance, infectious diseases, genomic sequencing, clinical microbiology, molecular microbiology, molecular diagnostics, molecular epidemiology, host-pathogen interaction, global public health
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a global public health emergency. Drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) including multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR-TB) is the main cause of deaths related to AMR.
Our research goal is to tackle TB and AMR with a multidisciplinary, integrative approach using cutting-edge technologies such as next- and third generation whole-genome sequencing (Illumina and Oxford Nanopore).
Our research focuses on:
1. Decoding the genetic basis of NZ unique Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) strains for their virulence and host specificity in Māori and Pasifika
2. Identification of the genetic basis for resistance in Mtb and the consequent development of diagnostics and anti-TB drugs
3. Insights into the genomic landscape of animal-adapted Mycobacterium bovis that causes tuberculosis in humans using a One Health approach
4. Understanding the molecular epidemiology of TB transmission in the populations/communities for effective policy interventions
5. Engagement with affected communities to understand perceptions of TB and barriers to care
Tackling tuberculosis on the frontline
Next-generation illumina iSeq sequencing at the National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, Myanmar
New Zealand Team
With Māori and Pasifika students from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Aung HL, Devine TJ, Mulholland CV, Arcus VL, Cook GM (2019) Tackling tuberculosis in the Indigenous People of New Zealand. The Lancet Public Health https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(19)30180-X
Nyunt WW, Cook GM, Aung HL, Aung ST (2019) Identification of the prevalence of isoniazid resistance without concurrent rifampicin resistance in Myanmar using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 23(10):S502
Aung HL and Devine TJ (2019) Reducing the burden of tuberculosis in Māori, the Indigenous people of New Zealand. The Lancet Global Health https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30236-0
Mulholland CV, Shockey A, Aung HL, Cursons R, O'Toole R, Gautam S, Brites D, Gagneux S, Roberts SA, Karalus N, Cook GM, Pepperell C, Arcus VL. (2019) Dispersal of Mycobacterium tuberculosis driven by historical European trade in the South Pacific. Frontiers in Microbiology (In Press)
Aung HL, Nyunt WW, Fong Y, Russell B, Cook GM, Aung ST. (2018) Whole-genome sequencing reveals the evidence of acquired resistance to antituberculosis drugs in Myanmar. Emerging Infectious Diseases doi:10.3201/eid2411.180465
Htun KS, Fong Y, Kyaw AA, Aung ST, Oo KZ, Zaw T, Lockhart PJ, Russell B, Cook GM, Aung HL, Hlaing TM (2018) Upper Respiratory Tract Microbiota of Patients Living with HIV, HIV/TB and TB from Myanmar. Data in Brief 4;21:354-357
Basu I, Bower JE, Roberts SA, Henderson G, Aung HL, Cook G, Lowe O, Newton S. (2018) Utility of whole-genome sequencing for multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates in a reference TB laboratory in New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal 14;131(1487):15-22
Lu X, Williams Z, Hards K, Tang J, Cheung CY, Aung HL, Wang B, Liu Z, Hu X, Lenaerts A, Woolhiser L, Hastings C, Zhang X, Wang Z, Rhee K, Ding K, Zhang T, Cook GM. (2018) A pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyridine inhibitor of the respiratory cytochrome bcc complex for the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis. ACS Infectious Diseases 8;5(2):239-249
Mulholland CV, Thorpe D, Cursons RT, Karalus N, Fong Y, Arcus VL, Cook GM, Aung HL (2018) Evaluation of the Rapid Molecular Diagnostic Test for the New Zealand Mycobacterium tuberculosis Rangipo Strain in a Clinical Setting. New Zealand Medical Journal 131(1478):70-72
Aung HL, Nyunt WW, Fong Y, Cook GM, Aung ST., (2017) First two extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis cases from Myanmar treated with bedaquiline. Clinical Infectious Diseases 65(3):531-532
Aung HL, Tun T, Nyunt WW, Fong Y, Crump JA, Thinn KK, Aung ST, Cook GM. (2017) Association between mutations in anti-tuberculosis drug resistance-conferring genes and treatment outcomes in Myanmar. Infectious Diseases doi: 10.1080/23744235.2017.1404632
Mortuza R, Aung HL, Taiaroa G, Opel-Reading HK, Kleffmann T, Cook GM, Krause KL(2017) Overexpression of a newly identified D-amino acid transaminase in Mycobacterium smegmatis complements glutamate racemase deletion. Molecular Microbiology 107(2):198-213
Nakatani Y, Opel-Reading HK, Merker M, Machado D, Andres S, Kumar SS, Moradigaravand D, Coll F, Perdigão J, Portugal I, Schön T, Nair D, Devi KRU, Kohl TA, Beckert P, Clark TG, Maphalala G, Khumalo D, Diel R, Klaos K, Aung HL, Cook GM, Parkhill J, Peacock SJ, Swaminathan S, Viveiros M, Niemann S, Krause KL, Köser CU. (2017) Role of alanine racemase mutations in Mycobacterium tuberculosis D-cycloserine resistance. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 61(12):e01575-17
Nyunt WW, Aung ST, Cook GM, Aung HL (2017) Evaluation of the MTBDRsltest for detection of second-line resistance in drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosisstrains in Myanmar. Infectious Disease 49:(11-12) 865-866.
Mulholland CV, Ruthe A, Cursons RT, Durrant R, Karalus N, Coley K, Bower J, Permina E, Coleman MJ, Roberts SA, Arcus VL, Cook GM, Aung HL (2017) Rapid Diagnosis of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Rangipo strain responsible for the largest recurring TB cluster in New Zealand. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease 88:138-140
Nyunt WW, Aung ST, Lwin T, Cook GM, Aung HL (2017) First- and second-line anti-tuberculosis drug resistance patterns among previous treatment failure patients in Myanmar. Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance 9:34-35.
Aung HL, Tun T, Permina E, Nyunt WW, Aung ST, Thinn KK, Crump JA, Cook GM (2016) Draft genome sequences of the drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from Myanmar. Genome Announcements 4: (5).
Petridis M, Vickers C, Robson J, McKenzie JL, Bereza M, Sharrock A, Aung HL, Arcus VL, Cook GM (2016) Structure and function of AmtR in Mycobacterium smegmatis: Implications for post-transcriptional regulation of urea metabolism through a small antisense RNA. Journal of Molecular Biology 428(21):4315-4329.
Tun T, Aye KS, Nyunt WW, Crump JA, Nakajima C, Suzuki Y, Thinn KK, Cook GM, Aung HL (2016) Genotypic diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains in Myanmar. Infectious Diseases 49(3):237-239.
Tun T, Nyunt WW, Latt KZ, Samaranayaka A, Crump JA, Thinn KK, Cook GM, Aung HL (2016) Drug-resistant tuberculosis among previously treated patients in Yangon, Myanmar. International Journal of Mycobacteriology 5: 366-367.
Aung HL, Tun T, Moradigaravand D, Köser CU, Nyunt WW, Aung ST, Lwin T, Thinn KK, Crump JA, Parkhill J, Peacock SJ, Cook GM, Hill PC (2016) Whole-genome sequencing of multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from Myanmar. Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance 6: 113-117.
Aung HL, Dixon LL, Smith LJ, Sweeney NP, Robson JR, Berney M, Buxton RS, Green J, Cook GM(2015) Novel regulatory roles of cAMP receptor proteins (CRPs) in fast-growing environmental mycobacteria Microbiology161: 648-661.
Aung HL, Samaranayaka CU, Enright R, Beggs KT, Monk BC (2015) Characterisation of the DNA gyrase from the thermophilic eubacterium Thermus thermophiles Protein Expression and Purification 107: 62-67.
Aung HL, Dey D, Janssen PH, Ronimus RS, Cook GM (2015) A high-throughput screening assay for identification of inhibitors of the A1AO-ATP synthase of the rumen methanogen Methanobrevibacter ruminantiumM1 Journal of Microbiological Methods110: 15-1.
Aung HL, Berney M, Cook GM (2014) Hypoxia-activated cytochrome bdexpression in Mycobacterium smegmatisis cAMP receptor protein (CRP)-dependent. Journal of Bacteriology196: 3091-3097.
McMillan DG, Ferguson SA, Dey D, Schröder K, Aung HL, Carbone V, Attwood GT, Ronimus RS, Meier T, Janssen PH, Cook GM (2011) A1Ao-ATP synthase of Methanobrevibacter ruminantium couples sodium ions for ATP synthesis under physiological conditions. The Journal of biological chemistry286: 39882-39892.