Respiratory microbiome in infants and children


Project Details

A new area of research for us is investigating the composition of bacterial communities (the microbiome) in nasopharyngeal samples in childhood cohorts. By deep sequencing of the 16S rRNA bacterial genes extracted from the samples, we are able to profile the bacterial taxa present in those samples. We then examine differences between the profiles of children who develop asthma later in life, vs those who never develop asthma.

We also look for associations between bacterial colonization and the severity of lung infections, which are known to be an important risk factor for asthma, in early childhood. This project is a collaboration with Mike Inouye (Dept Pathology) and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (Perth, Western Australia).

scheme showing acquisition of respiratory microbiome

Graphical abstract from our recent paper:

The Infant Nasopharyngeal Microbiome Impacts Severity of Lower Respiratory Infection and Risk of Asthma Development
Shu Mei Teo, Danny Mok, Kym Pham, Merci Kusel, Michael Serralha, Niamh Troy, Barbara J. Holt, Belinda J. Hales, Michael L. Walker, Elysia Hollams, Yury A. Bochkov, Kristine Grindle, Sebastian L. Johnston, James E. Gern, Peter D. Sly, Patrick G. Holt, Kathryn E. Holt*, Michael Inouye*


NHMRC project grant "Systems biology of asthma development in early childhood" (APP1049539).

Research Group

Holt laboratory: Pathogen genomics and bioinformatics

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Infection & Immunity, Systems Biology

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Unit / Centre

Holt laboratory: Pathogen genomics and bioinformatics

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.