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Our people-our expertise: Dr Irani Udeshika Rathnayake

Our people-our expertise

Dr Irani Udeshika Rathnayake

Qualifications | Research interests | Publications | Presentations | Grants and funding | Memberships

Irani Udeshika Rathnayake completed her PhD in Molecular Microbiology at the Queensland University of Technology in 2012.  Irani accepted a postdoctoral position at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), Queensland University of Technology (QUT) then moved to QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. After four years of postdoctoral research she joined the Molecular Epidemiology team in Public Health Microbiology, Forensic and Scientific Services as a Scientist in 2016. She also lectures at Queensland Universities and supervises research students.

Qualifications

  • PhD in Molecular Microbiology, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland. PhD thesis: Molecular characterization of environmental enterococci derived from water samples and assessment of associated public health hazards.

  • MSc Food Science and Technology,  University of Sri Jayawardenapura, Sri Lanka.

  • BSc in Microbiology (First Class Honours), University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.

  • Graduate-ship in Chemistry (First Class Honours), Institute of Chemistry, Sri Lanka.

Research interests and expertise

Irani is interested in the development and implementation of next-generation sequencing associated analyses and novel genetic testing in pathogen identification, outbreak tracking, mapping drug-resistance determinants and epidemiological surveillance.

  • Application of Whole genome sequencing (WGS) as a tool for Public Health Microbiology
  • Molecular epidemiology of bacterial pathogens
  • Culture independent nucleic acid amplification techniques (NAAT) and its applications to Public Health Microbiology.
  • Microbiome analysis

Recent publications

BOOK CHAPTERS

Pelzer ES, Rathnayake IU, Huygens F (2014) Promiscuity, pheromones and pathogenicity: why all Enterococci are not created equal. In Mack, Henry L. (Ed.) Enterococcus faecalis : Molecular Characteristics, Role in Nosocomial Infections and Antibacterial Effects. NOVA Science Publishers, New York, pp. 69-92

ARTICLES

Bhandari M, Jennison AV, Rathnayake IU, Huygens F, (2021). Evolution, distribution and genetics of atypical Vibrio cholerae - A review. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 8. DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2021.104726


Baines, SL, Goncalves da Silva A, Carter GP, Jennison AV, Rathnayake I, Graham RM, Sintchenko V, Wang Q, Rockett RJ, Timms VJ, Martinez E, Ballard S, Tomita T, Isles N, Horan KA, Pitchers W, Stinear TP, Williamson DA, Howden BP, Seemann T, Communicable Diseases Genomics Network, (2020). Complete microbial genomes for public health in Australia and the Southwest Pacific. Microbial Genomics. DOI: 10.1099/mgen.0.000471

Pintara A, Jenninson A, Rathnayake IU, Mellor G, Huygens F, (2020). Core and Accessory Genome Comparison of Australian and International Strains of O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli. Frontiers in Microbiology, 11. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.566415

Baines SL, Gonçalves da Silva A, Carter GP, Jennison AV, Rathnayake IU, Graham RMA, Sintchenko V, Wang Q, Rockett R, Timms V, Martinez E, Ballard S, Tomito T, Isles N, Horan KA, Pitchers W, Stinear T, Williamson D, Howden B, Seemann T (2019) Complete microbial genomes for public health in Australia 1 and Southwest Pacific. bioRxiv. DOI:

Chappell T, Geva S, Hogan JM, Huygens F, Rathnayake IU, Rudd S, Kelly W, Perrin D (2018) Rapid analysis of metagenomic data using signautre-based clustering. BMC Bioinformatics, 19 (Supp 20):509 DOI: 10.1186/s12859-018-2540-4

Graham RMA, Hiley Lester A, Rathnayake IU, Jennison AV (2018) Comparative genomics identifies distinct lineages of S. Enteritidis from Queensland, Australia. PLoS One, 13(1):e0191042. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191042

Pintara AP, Guglielmino CJ, Rathnayake IU, Huygens F, Jennison AV (2018) Molecular prediction of the O157:H- phenotype prevalent in Australian STEC cases improves the concordance of in silico serotyping with phenotypic motility. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 56(4):e01906-17. DOI: 10.1128/JCM.01906-17

Choudhury MA, Sidjabat HE, Rathnayake IU, Favin N, Chan RJ, Marsh N, BAnu S, Huygens F, Paterson DL, Rickard CM, McMillan DJ (2017) Culture-independent detection of chlorhexidine resistance genes qacA/B and smr in bacterial DNA recovered from body sites treated with chlorhexidine-containing dressings. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 66(4):447-453 DOI: 10.1099/jmm.0.000463

Mathew A, Vaquette C, Hashimi S, Rathnayake IU, Huygens F, Hutmacher DW, Ivanovski S (2017) Antimicrobial and immunomodulatory surface-functionalized electrospun membranes for bone regeneration. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 6(10):1345-1357 doi:10.1002/adhm.201601345

Hussain M A, Rathnayake IU & Huygens F. (2016) Comparison of systemic diseases versus localized signs of infection in healing and non-healing wounds. Wound Care Canada Journal.

Hussain M A, Rathnayake IU & Huygens F. (2016) The importance of anaerobic bacteria in non-healing wounds. Wound Practice & Research: Journal of the Australian Wound Management Association. 24(4): 218-223

Hussain M A, Rathnayake IU & Huygens F.(2016) Prevalence of biofilm controlling ica genes of Staphylococcus epidermidis detected in healthy skin, blood samples from septicaemia patients and chronic wounds. International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology 6(4): 2279-0780

Kleinschmidt S, Huygens F,Faoagali J, Rathnayake IU& Hafner LM. (2015) Staphylococcus epidermidis as a cause of bacteraemia. Future Microbiology, 10(11):1859-79.

Sandhu S, Rathnayake IU, Huygens F. (2014) Prevalence of methicillin resistance and virulence determinants of Staphylococcus aureus in Diabetic Foot Ulcers. International Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, 3(6):978-982.

Rathnayake IU, Hargreaves M., Huygens F. (2012) Antibiotic resistance and virulence traits in clinical and environmental Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium isolates. Systematic and Applied Microbiology 35(5):326-333

Rathnayake IU, Hargreaves M, Huygens F.(2011) SNP diversity of Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium in a South East Queensland Waterway, Australia, and associated antibiotic resistance gene profiles. BMC Microbiology. 11

Rathnayake IU, Hargreaves M, Huygens F. (2011) Genotyping of Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium isolates by use of a set of eight single nucleotide polymorphisms. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 49(1):367-372 .

Presentations

July 2018: Molecular prediction of the O157:H-negative phenotype prevalent in Australian STEC patients, with Pintara AP, Guglielmino CJD, Rathnayake IU, Huygens F, Jennison AV. In: Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM), Annual Scientific Meeting, Brisbane, Qld.

July 2018: Bacterial communities vary between healing and non-healing diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) - An update on the DFU microbiome, with Sandhu S, Rathnayake IU, Rudd S, Huygens F. In:  Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM), Annual Scientific Meeting, Brisbane, Qld.

Sep 2017: Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) provides genomic insight into diphtheria in Queensland [poster], with Jennison AV, Rathnayake IU, Doyle CJ, Graham RMA, Fang NX, Smith HV. In: 26th Annual RBWH Healthcare Symposium, Herston, Qld.

November 2016: Culture independent detection of chlorhexidine resistance genes qacA/b and smr in bacterial DNA recovered from body sites treated with chlorhexidine containing dressings, with Choudhury MA, Sidjabat HE, Rathnayake IU, Gavin N, Chan RJ, Banu S, Huygens F, Paterson DL, Rickard CM and McMillan DJ. In: Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control Conference, Melbourne, Vic.

December 2016: Identification of virulence gene clusters from blood culture isolates of Staphylococcus epidermidiswith Kleinschmidt S, Jennison AV, Hafner L, Faoagali J, Rathnayake IU, Huygens F. Accepted for publication at Asia-Pacific Congress of Clinical Microbiology in Melbourne, Vic.

July 2016: Whole genome sequencing data reveals discrepancies between the carriage of resistance genes and phenotypic susceptibility reporting in Staphylococcus epidermidis, with Kleinschmidt S, Jennison AV, Hafner L, Faoagali J, Rathnayake IU, Huygens F. In: AIMS conference, Brisbane, Qld.

Grants and funding

  • Senior Investigator, CREID collaborative grant, 2017-2018; Genomics guided surveillance of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine failure in Australian children - 2017
  • Co-Investigator, Queensland Health Cabinet Research Fund Grant, 2017-2019; Use of molecular typing and genomics to enhance surveillance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and associated antimicrobial resistance in Queensland’.

Memberships

Dr Irani Udeshika Rathnayake
Scientist, Molecular Epidemiology
Public and Environmental Health
email: irani.rathnayake@health.qld.gov.au