Improving understanding of meningococcal disease in Scotland

MRF-supported genome sequencing research backed by Health Protection Scotland to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of meningitis

Dr Claire Cameron, Dr Alison Smith-Palmer, Prof Andrew Smith, Prof Chris Robertson, Prof Martin Maiden, Dr Gavin Paterson, Prof Brian Jones.
Start Date
09 Jun 2016
Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment
Health Protection Scotland, UK, Scottish Microbiology Reference Laboratories, UK, University of Strathclyde, UK, University of Oxford, UK, University of Hull, UK.

What is this project about?

Whole genome sequencing of meningococci has brought powerful new insights into the genetic make-up of these deadly bacteria. 

Under a previous MRF grant, the whole genome sequences of all meningococci that caused disease in Scotland between 2009 and 2013 were determined and catalogued in MRF's Meningococcus Genome Library, and this collection is currently being extended to include all disease-causing meningococci up until 2015.

This project will unlock further unlock knowledge from the existing collection of Scottish sequences by linking information about the patient with the whole genome sequences of the meningococcus that caused the disease.

Why is this important?

This research could help scientists to understand why only some people progress from harmless carriage to overwhelming disease, and why the severity of disease differs among different people and different strains of bacteria.

Potential outcomes

This research will help scientists understand how factors, such as the genetic make-up of the meningococcus, the age of the patient, the patient's vaccine history and the medical care received by the patient, interact to determine the severity of the disease. This information will then be available for improved diagnosis, treatment and protection of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia.

Since the charity was founded in 1989, we have awarded 161 research grants. The total value of our investment in vital scientific research is over £19.1 million (€24.7 million).
We take action that benefits people directly, including training health professionals and providing support and information services.
We call for positive change as a united voice against meningitis and septicaemia, and a dedicated champion for those it affects.
We've invested nearly £20 million into meningitis research since 1989. Now, we're looking back at our most incredible achievements so far.
Give researchers the clues to help defeat meningitis
Give researchers the clues to help defeat meningitis
£160/€190/$214 decodes the genetic information in a sample of meningococcal bacteria. This information helps us to track new forms of meningitis and campaign to introduce new vaccines.
Liz Rodgers
Research Projects Manager

Hi, I’m Liz and I’m MRF's Research Projects Manager.

If you’d like to know more about this area of MRF's work, do get in touch.

Tel: 0333 405 6258