S55 The Use of Whole Genome Sequencing and Metagenomics in Modelling and Risk Assessment

Wednesday, August 3, 2016: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
228-229 (America's Center - St. Louis)
Primary Contact: Cian O'Mahony
Organizer: Cian O'Mahony
Convenor: Cian O'Mahony
In the last number of years, whole genome sequencing and metagenomics have become powerful and important tools in food safety, providing detailed profiling of individual bacterial isolates and the microbiome of various environments and food matrices. However, the significance of how such techniques and data sets can be used in quantitative risk assessment and predictive modeling is less well understood. While there are clearly opportunities for development in this area, a number of challenges exist. These include understanding the role of the microbiome in influencing risk, analysing and managing the volume of data that is generated by such approaches. Furthermore, linking the analysed data in a quantitative sense to appropriate models that can produce output that is of use in decision-making with respect to food safety, particularly in light of a globalized food trade system.

This symposium will present examples of current initiatives that are seeking to bridge this knowledge gap. Case studies will include a project currently underway, in collaboration with a number of large food companies, seeking to develop a monitoring program.  The program will track the evolution of the microbiome in different manufacturing facilities and link this to the prevalence of specific pathogens of concern, identified using whole genome sequencing. The need for joined-up and coordinated developments of capabilities and data repositories at the global level is argued. In order to realize the opportunities, WGS approaches offer in international trade. The implications of these new technologies for surveillance and the insights can provide into exposure assessment and hazard characterization will also be discussed.


8:30 AM
Metagenomic Epidemiology: A New Tool for Risk Assessment?
Barbara Kowalcyk, RTI International
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