The University of Sydney
Dr Jim Manos has established his research career in the field of bacterial pathogenesis. He completed his PhD studies on the elucidation of the catalase protein of Helicobacter pylori, at the University of New South Wales in 1998 and subsequently carried out postdoctoral studies at the University of Maryland Medical School, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, on the flagellin switching mechanism of Proteus mirabilis. He returned to Australia in 2004 to study Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains infecting the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at Sydney University.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) lung infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. P.aeruginosa usually spreads to patients from the environment, but epidemic clones spreading patient-to-patient are an emerging threat to CF patients internationally. Dr Manos is characterising the molecular basis for infectivity of the epidemic clones AES-1 and AES-2 that infect up to 45% of CF patients in eastern Australia, by identifying expression and presence virulence factors specific to AES-1. The findings will be used to develop novel therapeutics and infection control strategies. Data from Affymetrix PAO1 microarrays of AES-1, AES-2 and unique (non-epidemic) isolates grown both planktonically and as a biofilm have provided evidence that epidemic strains are ?primed? for biofilm development during planktonic growth. To further investigate CF-strain specific genes of P. aeruginosa, the CF research group at the University of Sydney, with Dr Manos as a chief investigator, sequenced the genome of AES-1 and in conjuction with the Victorian Bioinformatics Institute (Monash University) has developed a non-redundant array (PANarray) containing all genes from eight sequenced P. aeruginosa genomes. Dr Manos' lab is using this array, together with an artificial sputum medium (ASMDM) that mimics CF sputum, to investigate expression of CF-strain specific genes. Hislab created mutants in six genes significantly differentially expressed in ASMDM, and is investigating changes in virulence, infectivity and invasiveness in the mutants in the A549 epithelial cell line and the C57Bl/6J mouse model of lung infection (PloS one 2015). Current work with new Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Theerthankar Das, (recipient of a Sydney University Postdoctoral Fellowship) investigating the effect of pyocyanin and antioxidants on the structure of bacterial biofilms (AAC 2016).