Professor Phil Giffard

Head of Laboratory Science

Qualifications:

PhD, University of Aberdeen (Scotland), 1987; Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Queensland, 1982.

Approved level of HDR supervision at Charles Darwin University:

Principal Supervisor for PhD

Location:

Darwin - Royal Darwin Hospital campus

Biography:

Phil Giffard conducts research in the field of microbial genetics and genomics, that is relevant to infectious disease.

The focus is upon questions relevant to the population of Northern Territory. Recent projects gave given rise to fundamental findings related to prominent human pathogens.  One example is the division of Staphylococcus aureus (Golden Staph) into three species, that are now termed the ‘Staphylococcus aureus complex'.  

One of the newly defined species, known as Staphylococcus argenteus (Silver Staph), was first identified in the Northern Territory, but is now known to be globally distributed. Another example is the first complete analysis of Chlamydia trachomatis isolates associated with ocular infection in Australia. This showed that Australian ocular strains are unrelated to ocular strains elsewhere in the world, apart from at a small number of genes that genes, that on the basis of this work, are now thought to confer anatomical tropism.

Phil Giffard has also pioneered the development of a conceptual framework and experimental approach to informing difficult questions related to sexually transmitted infections and child protection in the Northern Territory.

Phil’s expertise is in the development of genetic analysis technologies, and bioinformatics, and more generally in the formulation and application of innovative approaches to address questions of immediate relevance to frontline clinicians in northern Australia.   

 

Phil Giffard is involved in a number of projects addressing the diversity and genetic analysis of the Staphylococcus aureus complex, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Chlamydia trachomatis. He is also involved in continued development of software for deriving highly informative SNP combinations from large-scale databases of genome diversity.

  1. Giffard, P.M., Andersson P., Wilson J., Buckley C., Lilliebridge R, Harris, T.M., Kleinecke M., O’Grady K.F., Huston W.M., Lambert S.B., Whiley D.M. and Holt D.C. (2018) CtGEM typing: Discrimination of Chlamydia trachomatis ocular and urogenital strains and major evolutionary lineages by high resolution melting analysis of two amplified DNA fragments. PLoS One 13: e0195454.
  2. Giffard, P.M., Su, J-Y., Andersson, P., & Holt, D.C. (2017) Primary health clinic bathroom/toilet surface swab sampling can indicate community profile of sexually transmitted infections. PeerJ e3487.
  3. Giffard, P.M., Lilliebridge, R.A., Wilson, J., Murray, G., Phillips, S., Tabrizi, S., Garland, S.M., Martin, L., Singh, G., Tong, S.Y.C., Holt, D.C., & Andersson, P. (2017) Contaminated fingers: a potential cause of Chlamydia trachomatis positive urine specimens. Sex. Transm. Infect. Epub ahead of print.      
  4. Hadfield, J., Harris, S,R., Seth-Smith, H.M.B., Parma, S., Andersson, P, Giffard, P.M., Schachter, J., Moncada, J., Ellison, L., Vaulet, M.L.G., Fermepin, M.R., Radebe, F., Mendoza, S., Ouburg, S., Morré, S.A., Sachse, K., Puolakkainen, M., Korhonene, S.J., Sonnex, C., Wiggins, R., Jalal, H., Brunelli, T., Casprini, P., Pitt, R., Ison, C., Savicheva, A., Shipitsyana, E., Hada, R., Kari, L., Burton, M.J., Mabey, D., Solomon, A.W., Lewis, D., Marsh, P., Unemo, M., Clarke, I.N., Parkhill, J., & Thomson, N.R. (2017) Comprehensive global genome dynamics of Chlamydia trachomatis show ancient diversification followed by contemporary mixing and recent lineage expansion. Genome Res. 27(7):1220-1229.
  5. Giffard, P. M., Singh, G. and Garland, S. M. (2017) What does Chlamydia trachomatis detection in a urogenital specimen from a young child mean? Sex Transm Infect. 93:236-237.
  6. Andersson, P., Harris, S.R., Seth Smith, H.M.B., Hadfield, J.,  O’Neill , C., Cutcliffe , L.T.,  Douglas, F.P., Asche , L.V., Mathews, J.D., Hutton , S.I., Sarovich, D.S., Tong , S.Y.C., Clarke,  I.N., Thomson, N.R. andGiffard, P.M. (2016) Chlamydia trachomatis from Australian Aboriginal people with trachoma are polyphyletic composed of multiple distinctive lineages. Nature Communications, 7:10688. 
  7. Giffard P.M., Brenner N.C., Tabrizi S.N., Garland S.M., Holt D.C., Andersson P., Lilliebridge R.A., Tong S.Y.C., Karimi M., Boylan P., Ryder N., Johns T., and Singh G. (2016) Chlamydia trachomatis genotypes in a cross-sectional study of urogenital samples from remote Northern and Central Australia. BMJ Open. 6(1):e009624. 
  8. Tong S.Y., Schaumburg F., Ellington M.J., Corander J., Pichon B., Leendertz F., Bentley S.D., Parkhill J., Holt D.C., Peters G., Giffard P.M. (2015) Novel staphylococcal species that form part of a Staphylococcus aureus related complex: the non-pigmented S. argenteus and the non-human primate associated S. schweitzeri sp. nov. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 65:15-22.
  9. Andersson, P, Tong, S.Y.C, Lilliebridge, R.A., Brenner, N., Martin, L.M., Spencer, E.,  Delima J., Singh G., McCann, F, Hudson, C., Johns, T., Giffard, P.M. (2014) Multi-site direct determination of the potential for environmental contamination of urine samples used for diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections. J. Ped. Infect. Dis. Soc. 3: 189-196.
  10. Towers,  R.J., Carapetis J,R., Currie B.J,, Davies M.R., Walker M.J., Dougan G., Giffard P.M. (2013) Extensive transmission rather than localised diversification. PLoS One. 16;8(9):e73851. 
Click here to view more Phil Giffard publications in PubMed.
  1. Pain free golden staph treatment cleared for use in remote communities

    Pain free golden staph treatment cleared for use in remote communities

    Date

    A northern Australian research team has provided reassuring support for the continued use of an oral treatment option for patients with skin infections, finding that there has been inaccurate reporting of resistance to the recommended antibiotic.

  2. BMJ Journals - Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)

    BMJ Journals - Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)

    Date

    Professor Phil Giffard featuring in the editorial of BMJ Journals - Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) which is the world's longest running international journal on sexual health.

  3. STI swabs reveal pattern | NT News 1 July 2017

    STI swabs reveal pattern | NT News 1 July 2017

    Date

    Surface swabbing of toilets and bathrooms could strengthen disease surveillance according to recent research from Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) published in the journal PeerJ.

  4. Study finds the monitoring of toilet surfaces could impact public health surveillance

    Study finds the monitoring of toilet surfaces could impact public health surveillance

    Date

    Surface swabbing of toilets and bathrooms could strengthen disease surveillance according to recent research from Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) published in the journal PeerJ.

  5. ‘Golden staph’ three species, not one

    ‘Golden staph’ three species, not one

    Date

    'Stories of Australian Science' magazine

  6. Researchers discover a new silver species of Staphylococcus

    Researchers discover a new silver species of Staphylococcus

    Date

    Scientists from a pioneering Northern Territory-based research project have uncovered two new species of staphylococcus. One of the two has been officially registered as Staphylococcus argenteus, or more commonly Silver Staph.