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Our people-our expertise: Helen V. Smith

Our people-our expertise

Profile

Helen Smith

Qualifications | Research interests | Publications | Presentations | NHMRC investigations | Memberships

Helen V Smith is an Australian public health Microbiologist at Forensic and Scientific Services (FSS), Department of Health.

Helen has over 30 years experience in microbiology, beginning her career in the Laboratory of Microbiology and Pathology. In that time she has been involved the testing of food, water and clinical specimens for notifiable bacterial pathogens and investigation of outbreaks.

Around 20 years ago she became interested in the use of molecular epidemiology to investigate public health outbreaks and began the Molecular Epidemiology Unit within FSS.

Helen is now the team leader of the Reference Microbiology Laboratory at FSS.

See more information about Helen at:

Qualifications

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld.
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Laboratory Science), Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld.
  • Associate Diploma in Clinical Laboratory Techniques, Queensland Institute of Technology, Brisbane, Qld.
  • Certificate IV Project Management, Australian College of Project Management.
  • Diploma of Management, TAFE Queensland.
  • Diploma of Business, TAFE Queensland.

Research interests and expertise

  • Public health bacterial pathogens typing and epidemiology
  • Emerging bacterial pathogens
  • Molecular epidemiological typing of bacterial pathogens
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae typing, epidemiology and vaccine efficacy
  • Neisseria meningitidis typing, epidemiology and vaccine efficacy
  • Haemophilus influenzae typing and epidemiology
  • Streptococcus pyogenes typing and epidemiology
  • Neisseria gonorrhoea typing and epidemiology

Publications

2021
Tozer SJ, Smith HV, Whiley DM, Borrow R, Boccadifuoco G, Medini D, Serruto D, Giuliani MM, Stella M, De Paola R, Muzzi A, Pizza M, Sloots TP, Nissen MD, (2021). High coverage of diverse invasive meningococcal serogroup B strains by the 4-component vaccine 4CMenB in Australia, 2007-2011: Concordant predictions between MATS and genetic MATS. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 17(9), 3230-3238. DOI: 10.1080/21645515.2021.1904758

2020
Meder KN, Jayasinghe S, Beard F, Dey A, Kirk M, Cook H, Strachan J, Sintchenko V, Smith H, Giele C, Howden B, Krause V, McIntyre P, (2020). Long-term Impact of Pneumococal Conjugate Vaccines on Invasive Disease and Pneumonia Hospitalizations in Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 70(12) 2607-2615. DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciz731

Forde BM, Henderson A, Playford EG, Looke D, Henderson BC, Watso C, Steen JA, Sidjabat HE, Laurie G, Muttaoyah S, Nimmo GR, Lampe G, Smith H, Jennison AV, McCall B, Carroll H, Cooper MA, Paterson DL, Beatson SAD, (2020). Fatal respiratory diphtheria caused by ß-lactam-resistant Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Clinical Infectious Disease. DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1147

2019

Meder KN, Jayasinghe S, Beard F, Dey A, Kirk M, Cook H, Strachan J, Sintchenko V, Smith HV, Giele C, Howden BP, Krause V, McIntyre P.  (2019) Long-term impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines on invasive disease and pneumonia hospitalisations in Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Clinical Infectious Diseases, ciz731. DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciz731

Thangarajah D, Guglielmino CJD, Lambert SB, Khandaker G, Vasant BR, Malo JA, Smith HV, Jennison AV (2019) Genomic characterization of recent and historic meningococcal serogroup E invasive disease in Australia: a case series. Clinical Infectious Diseases. DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciz767

Meder KN, Jayasinghe S, Beard F, Dey A, Kirk M, Cook H, Strachan J, Sitchenko V, Smith HV, Giele C, Howden BP, Krause V, McIntyre P (2019) Long-term impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines on invasive disease and pneumonia hospitalisations in Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Clinical Infectious Diseases. DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciz731

Vasant BR, Jarvinen K, Fang N-X, Smith HV, Jennison AV (2019) Mass prophylaxis in an outbreak of invasive group A streptococcal disease in a residential aged care facility. Communicable Diseases Intelligence, 43. DOI: 10.33321/cdi.2019.43.18

2017

Smith HV (2017) Public Health. (Guest editorial) Microbiology Australia, 38(4): 155. http://microbiology.publish.csiro.au/?paper=MA17055

Smith HV, Jennison AV (2017) Changing epidemiology of invasive meningococcal disease in Australia 1994–2016. Microbiology Australia, 38(4): 184-186. http://microbiology.publish.csiro.au/?paper=MA17064

Vasant BR, Stafford RJ, Jennison AV, Bennett SM, Bell RJ, Doyle CJ, Young JR, Vlack SA, Titmus P, El Saadi D, Jarvinen KAJ, Coward P, Barrett J, Staples M, Graham RMA, Smith HV, Lambert SB. (2017) Mild illness during outbreak of Shiga toxin−producing Escherichia coli O157 infections associated with agricultural show, Australia. Emerging Infectious Dieases 23(10): 1686-1689. DOI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5621556/

Abady NR, Guglielmino CJ, Graham RMA, Adelskov J, Smith HV, Patel BKC, Jennison AV (2017) Genetic characterization of a Neisseria meningitidis cluster in Queensland, Australia. Canadian Journal of Micriobiology, 63(7): 644-647. DOI: 10.1139/cjm-2017-0017

Staples M, Fang NX, Graham RMA, Smith HV, Jennison AV (2017) Evaluation of the SHIGA TOXIN QUIK CHEK and ImmunoCard STAT! EHEC as screening tools for the detection of Shiga toxin in faecal specimens. Diagnostic Microbiology & Infectious Disease, 87(2): 95-99. DOI: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2016.03.011

Doyle CJ, Mazins A, Graham RMA, Fang NX, Smith HV, Jennison AV (2017) Sequence analysis of toxin gene-bearing Corynebacterium diphtheriae strains, Australia. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 23(1):105-107. DOI: 10.3201/eid2301.160584

Vasant BR, Stafford RJ, Jennison AV, Bennett S, Bell RJ, Doyle CJ, Young JR, Vlack SA, Titmus P, El Saadi D, Jarvinen K, Coward P, Barrett J, Staples M., Graham RMA, Smith HV, Lambert SB (2017) Mild illness during outbreak of shiga toxin−producing Escherichia coli O157 infections associated with agricultural Show, Australia. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 23(10):1686-1689 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5621556/

2016

Trembizki E, Wand H, Donovan B, Chen M, Fairley CK, Freemank, Guy R, Kaldor J, Lahra MM, Lawrence A, Lau CL, Pearson J, Regan D, Ryder N, Smith HV, Stevens K, Su J-Y, Ward J, Whiley DM, (2016) The molecular epidemiology and antimicrobial resistance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in Australia: a nationwide cross-sectional study, 2012. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 63(12):1591-1598. DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciw648

Buckley C, Trembizki E, Donovan B, Chen M, Freeman K, Guy R, Lahra MM, Kundu R, Regan DG, Smith HV, Whiley DM (2016) Real-time PCR detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae susceptibility to penicillin. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 71(11): 3090-3095. DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkw291

Mowlaboccus S, Perkins TT, Smith H, Sloots T, Tozer S, Prempeh LJ., Tay CY, Peters F, Speers D, Keil AD, Kahler CM (2016) Temporal changes in BEXSERO(r) antigen sequence type associated with genetic lineages of Neisseria meningitidis over a 15-year period in Western Australia. PLoS One. 11(6): e0158315. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158315

Smith HV, (2016) When 'Spanish flu' came to Brisbane. In: Brisbane diseased : contagions, cures and controversy. Papers (Brisbane History Group) (25). Boolarong Press, Moorooka, Qld., pp. 149-167. Item availability restricted.

Buckley C, Trembizki E, Donovan B, Chen M, Freeman K, Guy R, Kundu R, Lahra MM, Regan DG, Smith H, Whiley DM, GRAND Study Investigators. (2016) A real-time PCR assay for direct characterization of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae GyrA 91 locus associated with ciprofloxacin susceptibility.  Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 71(2):353-6. DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkv366

2015

Trembizki E, Buckley C, Donovan B, Chen M, Guy R, Kaldor J, Lahra MM, Regan DG, Smith H, Ward J, Whiley DM, (2015) Direct real-time PCR-based detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae 23S rRNA mutations associated with azithromycin resistance. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 70(12): 3244-9. DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkv274

Wan Sai Cheong J, Smith HV, Heney C, Robson J, Schlebusch S, Fu J, Nourse C. (2015) Trends in the epidemiology of invasive Haemophilus influenzae disease in Queensland, Australia from 2000 to 2013: what is the impact of an increase in invasive non-typeable H. influenza (NTHi)? Epidemiology & Infection, 143(14): 2993-3000. DOI: 10.1017/S0950268815000345

Greenhill AR, Phuanukoonnon S, Michael A, Yoannes M, Orami T, Smith H, Murphy D, Blyth C, Reeder J, Siba P, Pomat W, Lehmann D. (2015) Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae in paediatric meningitis patients at Goroka General Hospital, Papua New Guinea: serotype distribution and antimicrobial susceptibility in the pre-vaccine era. BMC Infectious Diseases, 15: 485. DOI: 10.1186/s12879-015-1197-0

Trembizki E, Doyle C, Buckley C, Jennison AV, Smith, H, Bates J, Sloots T, Nissen M, Lahra MM, Whiley D. (2015) Estimating the prevalence of mixed-type gonococcal infections in Queensland, Australia. Sexual Health, 12(5):439-44. DOI: 10.1071/SH15009

Mellor GE, Fegan N, Gobius KS, Smith HV, Jennison AV, D'Astek BA, Rivas M, Shringi S, Baker KN, Besser TE (2015) Geographically distinct Escherichia coli O157 isolates differ by lineage, Shiga toxin genotype, and total shiga toxin production. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 53(2):579-86. DOI: 10.1128/JCM.01532-14

Staples M, Graham RM, Jennison AV, Ariotti L, Cook H, Krause V, Giele C, Smith HV (2015) Molecular characterization of an Australian serotype 1 Streptococcus pneumoniae outbreak. Epidemiology & Infection, 143(2): 325-333. DOI: 10.1017/S0950268814000648

2014

Henningham A, Yamaguchi M, Aziz RK, Kuipers K., Buffalo CZ, Dahesh S, Choudhury B, Van Vleet J, Yamaguchi Y, Seymour LM, Ben Zakour NL, He L, Smith HV, Grimwood K., Beatson SA, Ghosh P, Walker MJ, Nizet V, Cole JN (2014) Mutual exclusivity of hyaluronan and hyaluronidase in invasive group A Streptococcus. Jiournal of Biological Chemistry, 289(46): 32303-15. DOI:

Trembizki E, Smith H, Lahra MM, Chen M, Donovan B, Fairley CK, Guy R, Kaldor J, Regan D, Ward J, Nissen MD, Sloots TP, Whiley DM (2014) High-throughput informative single nucleotide polymorphism-based typing of Neisseria gonorrhoeae using the Sequenom MassARRAY iPLEX platform. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 69(6): 1526-32. DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkt544

Whiley DM, Trembizki E, Buckley C, Freeman K, Lawrence A, Limnios EA, Pearson J, Smith HV, Stevens K, Lahra MM (2014) Penicillinase-producing plasmid types in Neisseria gonorrhoeae clinical isolates from Australia. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 58(12): 7576-8. DOI: 10.1128/AAC.04120-14

Trembizki E, Doyle C, Jennison A, Smith H, Bates J, Lahra M, Whiley D, GRAND study investigators. (2014) A Neisseria gonorrhoeae strain with a meningococcal mtrR sequence. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 63(Pt 8): 1113-5. DOI: 10.1099/jmm.0.074286-0

Staples M, Jennison AV, Ariotti L, Hicks V, Graham RM, Smith HV (2014) Prevalence and molecular characterisation of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 6C in Queensland, Australia. Diagnostic Microbiology & Infectious Disease, 78(3): 307-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2013.11.017

Trembizki E, Lahra M, Stevens K, Freeman K, Hogan T, Hogg G, Lawrence A, Limnios A, Pearson J, Smith H, Nissen, M., Sloots, T., Whiley D, GRAND study investigators (2014) A national quality assurance survey of Neisseria gonorrhoeae testing. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 63(Pt 1): 45-9. DOI: 10.1099/jmm.0.065094-0

Mellor GE, Besser TE, Davis MA, and Beavis B, Jung W, Smith HV, Jennison AV, Doyle CJ, and Chandry PS, Gobius KS, and Fegan N (2013) Multilocus genotype analysis of E. coli O157 from Australia and the U.S.A. provides evidence of geographic divergence. Applied and environmental microbiology, 79 (16). pp. 5050-5058. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01525-13

More publications at Helen's Google Scholar page

Presentations

July 2019: Meningococcal epidemiology in Australia. In: Face to face meeting with Public Health Nurses, 29 July 2010, Brisbane, Qld

May 2019: Global invasive Meningococcal epidemiology. In: National Neisseria Network Meeting, 13-15 May 2019, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

April 2018: A snapshot of invasive pneumococcal disease in Queensland, Australia: The effect of PCV13 and emerging serotypes [poster]. In: 11th International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases (ISPPD), Melbourne, Victoria.

Nov 2017: Changing Meningococcal epidemiology in Australia. In: ASM Clinical Microbiology SIG Meeting, Coopers Plains, Qld.

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

Sep 2016: Transcontinental changes in the population structure of Neisseria meningitidis and coverage of the BEXSERO® vaccine in Australia, with Mowlaboccus S, Perkins TT, Sloots TP, Tozer SJ, Prempeh L-J, Tay CY, Peters F, Speers D, Keil AD, Richmond P, Howden BP, Kahler CM. In: 20th International Pathogenic Neisseria Conference, Manchester, UK.

Sep 2016: Use of the meningococcal antigen typing system to assess the Australian meningococcal strain coverage with a multicomponent serogroup B vaccine, with Tozer SJ, Whiley DM, Rockett R, Jennison AV, Doyle CJ, Graham RMA, Gilchrist S, Orlandi L, Frosi G, Boccadifuoco G, Medini D, Serruto D, Borrow R, Findlow J, Pizza M, Nissen MD, Sloots TP. In: 20th International Pathogenic Neisseria Conference, Manchester, UK.

Sep 2015: Invasive Haemophilus influenzae in Queensland, Australia 2000-2013 [poster], with Ariotti L, Hicks V. In: 13th congress EMGM (European Meningococcal Disease Society), The Netherlands.

Sep 2015: Invasive Pneumococcal disease in Queensland, Australia 2001-2014 [poster], with Hicks V, Ariotti L, Graham R, Jennison AV. In: 13th congress EMGM (European Meningococcal Disease Society), The Netherlands.

National Health and Medical Research Council Investigations

  • 2012-2014 Associate investigator, NHMRC grant 1025517 Neisseria gonorrhoeae antimicrobial resistance: detection and propagation.
  • 2011-2014 Associate investigator, Occurrence of invasive clones at different infection sites in patients affected by Streptococcus pyogenes invasive disease, with NHMRC Principle Research Fellow Mark Walker (UQ).

Memberships

Contact

Helen V. Smith
Supervising Scientist, Reference Microbiology
Public and Environmental Health
email: helen.smith4@health.qld.gov.au
phone: +61 7 3096 2825