Justin .O. Grady University of East Anglia

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Justin .O. Grady University of East Anglia

Justin .O. Grady University of East Anglia

Dr Justin O’Grady

  • Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology, Norwich Medical School

  • Telephone:

    +44 (0)1603 59 7005

  • Location:

    Bob Champion Research & Education Bldg 2.28

Biography

Dr O’Grady gained his B.Sc. in Microbiology, his M.Sc. (Res) in infectious diseases molecular diagnostics and his Ph.D. in molecular diagnosis of bacterial pathogens in food all at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG).  He stayed at NUIG for his first post-doc, continuing his food microbiology research. This was followed by a two year stint in industry (Beckman Coulter) developing real-time PCR based molecular diagnostics assays for infectious diseases including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Dr O’Grady then returned to academia, taking up a post-doc position at University College London on TB diagnostics. In January 2013 he was appointed Lecturer in Medical Microbiology at UEA and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in August 2016. His research continues to focus on the molecular diagnosis of pathogens with the aim of translating this research broadly, in different sectors and diseases, to maximise community/patient benefit.

Career History

  • 2006-2008      Postdoctoral Researcher at the National University of Ireland Galway
  • 2008-2010      Research Scientist at Beckman Coulter
  • 2010-2011      Research Associate at University College London
  • 2011-2012      Senior Research Associate at University College London
  • 2013-2016      Lecturer in Medical Microbiology at UEA
  • 2016-Present   Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology at UEA

Academic Background

  • 1994-1998   B.Sc. in Microbiology, National University of Ireland Galway
  • 1998-2000   M.Sc. (Res) in infectious diseases molecular diagnostics, National University of Ireland Galway
  • 2003-2007   Ph.D. in the molecular diagnosis of Listeria species in food, National University of Ireland Galway

Key Research Interests

In January 2013 I joined UEA where my research focusses on the molecular diagnosis of pathogens in complex clinical syndromes such as sepsis, respiratory tract infections and urinary tract infections. A particular focus is on the application of next generation sequencing in clinical diagnostics. Currently, NGS is being used in centralised national reference laboratories to type referred bacteria but is not yet used for routine diagnostic laboratories. Third generation NGS technology (eg real-time nanopore sequencing) will radically change this landscape, reducing cost and turnaround time and removing the need for expert operators and analysts. This will facilitate the use of NGS for the rapid, routine profiling of pathogens in clinical samples, possibly at the point-of-care. The main challenge to implementation remaining is sample preparation. Nucleic acid extraction is not optimised for the sequencing based detection of tiny amounts of pathogen nucleic acid in a vast excess of human nucleic acid, as applies, for example, in the investigation of bloodstream infection. We are facilitating the implementation of nanopore sequencing technology in clinical microbiology by developing nucleic acid extraction technologies for clinical samples containing low levels of pathogen (host DNA depletion and pathogen DNA enrichemnt methods) designed to make the sequencing based identification of pathogens and antibiotic resistances feasible.