Dr Matthew Robinson
Head of Molecular Bacteriology
- Rickettsial Research Coordinator
- Area Safety Officer
I lead the Molecular Bacteriology Team at LOMWRU (Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Research Unit), based in Vientiane in Lao PDR and working closely with the Lao Ministry of Health. The team supports the day-to-day running of the hospitals Microbiology Laboratory by providing molecular support for the detection and identification of pathogens in human clinical samples.
The team also provides molecular support for a number of health- and disease-related research projects. My background is in infectious diseases and my primary interests focus on rickettsial pathogens (scrub and murine typhus), from epidemiology of the pathogens and their associated vectors, through to clinical outcomes and diagnosis. I am also closely involved in many other tropical pathogens and diseases found in the region including leptospirosis and melliodosis.
Current projects the Molecular Bacteriology Team are currently working on include:
- Evaluation of new diagnostic assays and techniques to determine their suitability for use in Laos and South East Asia as a whole, both at medical facilities and in the field environment.
- Screening of vector specimens (such as fleas and ticks) for the presence of pathogens.
- Detection of Burkholderia pseudomallei in environmental samples (soil and water)
- Whole Genome Sequencing projects
- Antibiotic susceptibility of pathogens (in particular the genetics of susceptibility)
My other roles include:
- Rickettsial Research Coordinator for the MORU Tropical Network. I organise an annual symposium involving researchers within the network as well as close collaborators to discuss current and future work in the area (the 2017 meeting involved over 50 researchers from ten countries).
- Area Safety Advisor (LOMWRU). I oversee the Health and Safety aspects of the unit and field sites in Laos, and coordinate with the senior management team and Health & Safety Teams across the network and in Oxford.
- Country Director for Pint of Science Thailand. I am involved in the organising and running of the Pint of Science Festival in Thailand, an international science festival held over three days every year; 2017 was the first year that Pint of Science was held in Asia.
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