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Monash formalises partnership with Wellcome Sanger Institute for RISE

26 February 2018

Monash University has just signed a five-year research collaboration agreement with world-leading centre in genomic discovery and understanding, the Wellcome Sanger Institute for the Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments program.

RISE is exploring how to make water and sanitation more sustainable and inclusive by trialling the water sensitive cities approach in 24 urban informal settlements in Makassar, Indonesia and Suva, Fiji. Working alongside communities, the program aims to show that nature-based solutions – such as constructed wetlands – can deliver low impact, cost-effective health and environmental improvements.

Alongside University of Cambridge, the Wellcome Sanger Institute is supporting the genomics work for human and environmental samples for RISE.

“We are extremely fortunate to be partnering with the Wellcome Sanger Institute for the assessment components of the RISE program. Professor Gordon Dougan and his team at the Institute are highly regarded as some of the world’s leading researchers, particularly in infectious disease and human epidemiology,” said RISE Assessment Team Leader, Professor Karin Leder.

The RISE team will collect the faecal, water and soil samples in Suva and Makassar, extracting the DNA to ship to the UK for the Sanger Institute to process. The studies will then be undertaken in Professor Gordon Dougan’s laboratory at University of Cambridge, collaborating across partners upon analysis of data. Professor Dougan is a Senior Group Leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, whose research focuses on the use of genomics to study/host pathogen interactions during infection.

Professor Dougan said, “We are delighted to be part of this exciting consortia working towards developing affordable and sustainable systems for creating safe water and a clean environment. Our role will be to use the very latest genomics – metagenomics – data to study the microbial populations living in people, and in their environment. We will be looking for pathogens and, over time, their potential disappearance from both people and their homes and habitats. This is an example of the direct application of our science for creating a safer place for people to live in.”