Rapid and accurate diagnosis is critical for the effective treatment of life-threatening infections, such as bloodstream, respiratory tract and complicated urinary tract infections (UTIs). These clinical syndromes are difficult to diagnose due to complex aetiology and challenging clinical sample types (e.g. blood, sputum).

In this webinar, Justin O’Grady, PhD, will describe how he developed a MinION based infectious diseases diagnostics pipelines with examples from ongoing research on pneumonia, sepsis and UTIs.


Current culture based diagnosis often has sub-optimal specificity and sensitivity and is too slow to impact on patient management. Shotgun metagenomics sequencing has the potential to change the way we diagnose infection, combining rapidity with comprehensiveness beyond that of current methods. Real-time nanopore sequencing technology provides the rapid turnaround necessary for infectious diseases diagnostics applications.

There are challenges in applying sequencing to infection diagnosis, however, including high human: pathogen nucleic acid ratios, low pathogen numbers and low-quality nucleic acid, depending on the disease and the clinical sample type. It is, therefore, vital to carefully design, develop, and optimise diagnostics pipelines before attempting to apply them to clinical samples.

Note: This is for research use only. 


Our Speaker

Justin OgradyJustin O’Grady, PhD
Senior Lecturer at UEA

Dr O’Grady gained his B.Sc. in Microbiology, his M.Sc. (Res) in infectious diseases diagnostics and his Ph.D. in the molecular diagnosis of pathogens in food all at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG). He remained at NUIG for his first post-doc, continuing his research in food microbiology. This was followed by a two-year stint in the industry (Beckman Coulter) developing real-time PCR-based tests for infectious diseases including tuberculosis (TB). Dr O’Grady then returned to academia, taking up a post-doc position at University College London on TB diagnostics. In January 2013 he was appointed Lecturer in Medical Microbiology at UEA and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in August 2016. His research continues to focus on the rapid molecular diagnosis of pathogens with the aim of translating this research broadly, in different sectors and diseases, to maximise community/patient benefit.