Dr Derek Sarovich

Senior research officer

Qualifications:

PhD (Molecular and Microbial Genetics), University of Queensland, 2007; Bachelor of Sciences (Honours), University of Queensland, 2004; Next-Gen Sequencing Aligners and Assemblers, Northern Arizona University, 2011; Graduate Certificate in Research Commercialisation, University of Queensland, 2007.

Location:

Darwin - Royal Darwin Hospital campus

Biography:

Derek is interested in the research areas of antibiotic resistance, in vivo evolution of pathogens, next-generation sequencing technologies and bioinformatics. His current primary research area is Burkholderia pseudomallei, a bacterium hyper-endemic to the soil in the Northern Territory and the causative agent of the potentially deadly disease melioidosis.

B. pseudomallei is classed as a select-agent by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, similar to the pathogens Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) and Yersinia pestis (plague). Antibiotic resistance is of great concern in melioidosis as B. pseudomallei is sensitive to only a handful of drugs, severely limiting treatment options. In addition, the mortality rate is alarmingly high, especially in Thailand, at around 50 per cent. Our previous work has characterised several mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in B. pseudomallei and in addition our research has developed diagnostic tests capable of rapidly (within a few hours) identifying an antibiotic resistant infection.

Derek’s second area of expertise and interest is in next-generation sequencing technologies and bioinformatics. Recently, he was involved in the investigation of the anthrax outbreak in heroin users in Europe. The work traced the most likely origin of the anthrax to a cutting agent from Turkey, which differed from the forensic team’s original hypothesis of Afghanistan. The research was the first instance of using bacterial genetics and bioinformatics to trace the source and smuggling route of an illicit drug.

 

  1. Price, E.P., Sarovich, D.S., Mayo, M., Tuanyok, A., Drees, K., Kaestli, K., et al. (2013). Within-host evolution of Burkholderia pseudomallei over a twelve-year chronic carriage infection. mBio, 4, e00388
  2. Sarovich, D.S., Price, E.P., Von Schulze, A.T., Cook, J.M., Mayo, M., Watson, L.M., et al. (2012). Characterization of ceftazidime resistance mechanisms in clinical isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei from Australia. PloS One, 7, e30789
  3. Sarovich, D.S., Colman, R.E., Price, E.P., Massire, C., Von Schulze, A.T., Waddell, V., et al. (2013). Molecular genotyping of Acinetobacter spp. isolated in Arizona, United States, using multilocus PCR and mass spectrometry. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 62, 1295-300
  4. Sarovich, D.S., Price, E.P., Limmathurotsakul, D., Cook, J.M., Von Schulze, A.T., Wolken, S.R., et al. (2012).  Development of ceftazidime resistance in an acute Burkholderia pseudomallei infection. Infection and Drug Resistance, 5,129-32.
  5. Price, E.P., Seymour, M.L., Sarovich, D.S., Latham, J., Wolken, S.R., Mason, J., et al. (2012). Molecular epidemiologic investigation of an anthrax outbreak among heroin users, Europe. Emerging Infectious Diseases 18, 1307-13.
  6. Sarovich, D.S., Ward, L., Price, E.P., Mayo, M., Pitman, M.C., Baird, R.W., et al., (2013). Recurrent melioidosis in the Darwin Prospective Melioidosis Study: improving therapies mean relapse cases are now rare. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Epub ahead of print
  7. Smith-Vaughan, H. C., Chang, A. B., Sarovich, D. S., Marsh, R. L., Grimwood, K., Leach, A. J., Morris, P. S., Price, E. P. (2013). The absence of an important vaccine and diagnostic target in carriage- and disease-related nontypable Haemophilus influenzae. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, Epub ahead of print
  8. Sarovich, D.S., Colman, R.E., Price, E.P., Chung, W.K., Lee, J., Schupp, J.M., et al. (2010). Selective isolation of Yersinia pestis from plague-infected fleas. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 82, 95-7.
  9. Price, E.P., Hornstra, H.M., Limmathurotsakul, D., Max, T.L., Sarovich, D.S., Vogler, A.J., (2010). Within-host evolution of Burkholderia pseudomallei in four cases of acute melioidosis. PLoS Pathogens, 6, e1000725.
  10. Sarovich, D.S., Pemberton, J.M. (2007). pPSX: a novel vector for the cloning and heterologous expression of antitumor antibiotic gene clusters. Plasmid, 57, 306-13.
Click here to view more Derek Sarovich publications in PubMed.
  1. NT LEADS GENOMICS RESEARCH INITIATIVE THAT COULD HOLD THE KEY TO ENDING EBOLA, ANTHRAX AND SARS OUTBREAKS

    NT LEADS GENOMICS RESEARCH INITIATIVE THAT COULD HOLD THE KEY TO ENDING EBOLA, ANTHRAX AND SARS OUTBREAKS

    Date

    A Darwin-led workshop will study African Ebola outbreaks, including the most recent devastating outbreak in West Africa, as part of this weekís inaugural Genomics North Australia (GNA) workshop training series.

  2. Menzies melioidosis project recognised among Australia's best

    Menzies melioidosis project recognised among Australia's best

    Date

    A Menzies project has been recognised amongst the nationís premier research projects by Australiaís peak body for health and medical research.

  3. Patient 314 - Unearthing a mystery

    Patient 314 - Unearthing a mystery

    Date

    Like an episode of 'House', a research team at the Menzies School of Health Research is on the trail of one of the most unique clinical cases ever seen in its 28 year history. The United States Government considers it to be one of the deadliest organisms...