Culture-free approaches including whole genome sequencing in support of diagnostic and transmission studies on Mycobacterium leprae

Project Details


Due to the specific characteristics of mycobacteria, diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy are associated with numerous challenges in their diagnosis and associated research. Culture of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a lengthy process, while M. leprae cannot be cultured on artificial medium at all. Culture-free solutions are thus a necessity to gain insights in M. leprae diversity. Indeed, developments in the field of direct-on-biopsy whole genome sequencing (WGS) and associated techniques are further advanced for M. leprae compared to M. tuberculosis. Specifically, recent advances in DNA bait capture of M. leprae DNA suggest a more sensitive and cheaper approach and can now be implemented during this project. Such analyses of WGS data are pertinent to better understand why M. leprae remains hyperendemic in the Comoros and other foci worldwide, by unravelling chains of transmission and drug resistance associated polymorphisms. Additionally, I will apply the expertise and experience gained to a pilot study on direct-on-sputum WGS of M. tuberculosis.
Effective start/end date30/06/21 → …