Nick Vereecke, PathoSense, Belgium
Mycoplasma bovis is a primary pathogen in cattle and results in significant economic losses. Current control mainly depends on antimicrobial therapy, but susceptibility testing is time-consuming (2 weeks). High-quality genomes of 100 Belgian M. bovis strains were obtained using long nanopore reads and a custom-trained Bonito basecalling model. Subsequently, a k-mer based Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) was performed to associate antimicrobial susceptibility genotypes with phenotypes, highlighting genetic markers for antimicrobial agents, including macrolides, enrofloxacin, tilmicosin, and gentamicin. This study shows the potential of nanopore sequencing & GWAS as a tool for fast antimicrobial susceptibility testing for M. bovis strains, with a direct applicability in veterinary medicine.
Nick Vereecke is an R&D scientist at PathoSense B.V., a new veterinary diagnostics spin-out of Ghent University. He performs state-of-the-art Ph.D. research on viral and bacterial diagnostics in collaboration with various laboratories at Ghent University and is supported by a Baekeland Ph.D. grant from the Flemish Agency of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. With a great interest for various applications of long-read sequencing, his aim is to revolutionize current identification, virulence typing, and antimicrobial resistance of infectious diseases in veterinary and human medicine.