Developing novel diagnostics to determine the presence of active bacterial infections



A/Prof Wilhelmina Huston

A/Prof Wilhelmina (Willa) Huston


Prof Alison Todd

Prof Alison Todd



… aims to develop a new viability assay, InSignia™ assay, owned by SpeeDx (WO 2019/119072 and PCT/AU2018/051406), which is able to distinguish between living and dead bacteria by measuring and normalising levels of transcription. This could help reduce unnecessary treatments of people who are not infected, and reduce overuse of antibiotics.  The InSignia™ assay can also provide phenotypic and molecular information to assess response to treatment and give rapid information on susceptibility and resistance to antimicrobials, including in high through put format. This could help overcome delays in determining preclinical efficacy of antimicrobials in development and potentially provide rapid patient-specific susceptibility information.

The remit of this Theme is to:

  • InSignia test for Neisseria gonorrhea and Mycoplasma genitalium will be developed to ultimately test in clinics for bacterial viability and antimicrobial susceptibility testing.
  • InSignia test for Neisseria gonorrhea and Mycoplasma genitalium will undergo comprehensive development and validation.
  • Neisseria gonorrhea and Mycoplasma genitaliumA special version of the InSignia test (that we will call VITAScreen) protocols for high throughput screening of compounds initially for with a view to evolve to other organisms.

Meet the chief investigators