QUT and Microba to create a world-leading human microbiome biobank

27 July 2023

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT), with its commercial partner Microba, has received a $3 million grant from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to establish the world’s most comprehensive human microbiome biobank.

The collaboration between Health Translation Queensland’s (HTQ) partner, QUT, and Microba will create a globally unique asset – the Australian Human Microbiome Biobank – with the potential to accelerate discovery and translational research, therapeutic programs and partnerships.

The human microbiome is a rich biological resource, and previous research has identified microorganisms associated with numerous human conditions.

Until now, our limited ability to culture most microorganisms living on and in the human body in the laboratory has been a challenge in translating this research into therapies.

Now, with MRFF support, leading researchers at the QUT Centre for Microbiome Research (CMR) and Microba will create a new, purpose-built cultivation platform.

The platform will integrate novel methods in spectral flow cytometry and Microba’s metagenomic technology to identify species of interest for targeted research.

Over 3 years, the team, led by Professor Gene Tyson, will isolate and characterise thousands of microbial strains from diverse human microbial communities, including the gut, skin, vaginal and oral microbiome.

The resulting biobank will enable researchers to study how microorganisms influence human health and can be used to treat conditions from inflammatory and autoimmune diseases to mental health and infections.

MRFF funding for the new microbiome biobank is part of the National Critical Research Infrastructure initiative, aimed at increasing Australia’s capacity to conduct health and medical research.

The project team includes:

  • CMR Director Professor Gene Tyson (lead), Dr Simon McIlroy, Dr Elise Pelzer and Dr James Volmer from QUT
  • Microba’s Professor Trent Munro, Dr Paraic Ó Cuív and Dr Nicola Angel

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