Combating Bacillus anthracis
Since 2015, we have been working with a CDC client focusing on Bacillus anthracis (B. anthracis) genome analysis and comparative genomics studies. In collaboration with these scientists, we have characterized sequencing data from various naturally occurring and laboratory constructed isolates, identifying novel variants and multi-copy plasmids and characterizing structural changes associated with drug resistance. This includes accurately characterizing variants associated with ciprofloxacin, penicillin, and clindamycin resistance. This work resulted in several publications in reputable journals.We have also created a bioinformatics pipeline for screening genomically engineered B. anthracis isolates and are developing a report generation software specific for this system, as well as a graphical user interface that allows for non-bioinformaticians to access this complete system. As we continue to work with this CDC client, our aim is to contribute to improving bioinformatics results interpretability and, therefore, time-sensitive responses to public health emergencies involving B. anthracis.