Theme 1: Technology – Developing and evaluation of new technologies in genome detection and associated bioinformatics
This theme is led by Dr Tanya Golubchik who has been at the forefront of HTS methods developments and their clinical applications. The principal aim is to drives the methodology developments behind future screening of blood, organs and medical products.
Theme 2: Viromics – Application of high throughput sequencing for microbial and viral characterisation in investigations of transmission and pathogenicity
Led by Professor Judy Breuer (UCL), this theme addresses gaps in understanding of the distribution of viruses in blood and tissues, and the extents to which they may reactivate and pose transmission risks in all areas of transfusion and transplant practice. Professor Breuer has pioneered the application of HTS metagenomic methods in clinical virology diagnostics and investigations of virus pathogenicity, and their associated bioinformatic pipelines.
Theme 3: Safety – Targeted investigations of identified transmission risks, emerging pathogens and their mitigation
Theme 3 focusses on investigations of specific problems associated with current blood and organ screening programmes, notably occult hepatitis B (OBI), emerging virus infections and new threats to organ donation safety posed by SARS-CoV-2. This will be led by Heli Harvala (NHSBT) who has major involvement and track record in clinical virology research and development, methods development, molecular epidemiology and transfusion microbiology.