Cystic Fibrosis Hackathon 2023

In March 2023, researchers from various institutions, such as Flinders University, Flinders Medical Centre (FMC), Adelaide University, Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), and Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH), gathered for a 5 day-long collaborative ‘Hackathon’ at the Flinders University’s Victoria Square campus. Drawing on their expertise in diverse fields including microbiology, bioinformatics, and medicine, they worked on analysing metagenomic data derived from 127 cystic fibrosis samples with the goal of producing figures and a story suitable for inclusion in a publication.

Throughout the week, researchers were also treated to lectures by respiratory physician Dr. Tom Goddard from the WCH and FMC and Associate Professor Katrine Whiteson from the University of California, Irvine. These presentations covered various aspects of the cystic fibrosis condition and delved into the history of microbiomes and metagenomes in cystic fibrosis.

By the end of the week, researchers had uncovered exciting findings, including the emergence and subsequent disappearance of antimicrobial resistance genes in response to antibiotic treatments. They also identified clinically relevant cystic fibrosis pathogens in the sequencing results from samples initially tested negative in their corresponding culture reports. Finally, the team made a remarkable discovery: the identification of a previously unknown phage!