Wilkes University

Current Speaker

Paul Keim, Ph.D.
Photo of Paul Keim - Regents’ Professor in Biology Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology Northern Arizona University

Regents’ Professor in Biology Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology Northern Arizona University

Topic: "Tracking Dangerous Pathogens Using Whole Genome Sequencing – Examples from Anthrax and Cholera"  

8 p.m. • March 27

Stark Learning Center, Room 101
150 S River St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18705


Our ability to precisely identify a bacterial isolate and discriminate between isolates has taken an incredible leap forward with the development of Next-Generation DNA sequencing. Disease outbreaks frequently involve the clonal expansion of a highly fit (or very lucky) pathogen genotype. This means that individual lineages within this clonal expansion are very similar. Traditional subtyping methods relied upon comparing phenotypic variation or low resolution molecular approaches and have insufficient power to address epidemiological or forensic hypotheses. In contrast, comparing pathogens’ whole genome sequences reaches the ultimate discriminatory power. Coupling this with sophisticated evolutionary modeling can answer many important questions. Dr. Keim will present data from recent disease outbreaks including the 2010 Haitian cholera outbreak and the Anthrax letter criminal investigation. In both cases, the outbreaks were short-lived with very low genomic variation that necessitated whole genome sequencing to identify a source.

The lecture is free and open to the public.


The Institute for Energy & Environmental Research Wilkes University WIESS - Wilkes Institute for Environmental Research

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