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Title: The development and use of bioinformatic web applications for infectious disease microbiology
Author: Aanensen, David Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 2687 438X
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2009
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The ever-increasing generation and submission of DNA sequences, and associated biological data, to publicly available databases demands software for the analysis of the biological meanings held within. The web provides a common platform for the provision of tools enabling the concurrent deposition, visualisation and analysis of data collected by many users from many different locations. Open programmatic web standards allow the development of applications addressing diverse biological questions and, more recently, are providing methods enabling functionality more traditionally associated with desktop software to be provided via the internet. In this work I detail the development and use of web applications addressing different, but not exclusive, areas of infectious disease microbiology. Firstly, an application utilised by a group of researchers (including myself) to undertake a comparative genetic analysis of the capsular biosynthetic locus from serotypes of the pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae is detailed. Secondly, an application widely used by communities of researchers and public health laboratories for the assignment of microbial isolates to strains via the internet: is described. Thirdly, I describe a generic electronic taxonomy application for assigning strains to bacterial species, exemplified using sequences from the viridans group streptococci, the taxonomy of which is notoriously difficult to define. Lastly, I describe the use of web mapping tools for molecular epidemiological databases, such as, and further detail their application to the European distribution of genotypes of Staphylococcus aureus, to catalogue the global distribution of the emerging amphibian fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and to provide geocoding tools to encourage users to submit and explore their own data in the geographical context they were collected. Each application has been designed with generality in mind and through reference to user workflows and biological examples, I demonstrate the extensibility and general applicability of current web development methodologies to enable the provision of applications addressing a diversity of biological questions.
Supervisor: Stumpf, Michael ; Spratt, Brian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral