AID researchers are drawn from infectious disease experts from across QIMR and UQ who apply leading technologies to identify, understand and prevent infectious disease.

Associate Professor Rachel Thomson

Rachel Thomson

Associate Professor Rachel Thomson is a Thoracic Physician and clinician researcher at the Gallipoli Medical Research Institute, University of Queensland.

Her focus is on the epidemiology (environmental/geospatial and microbiological), host susceptibility and treatment of pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacterial infections.

The prevalence of NTM pulmonary infections is increasing globally, in those compromised by structural lung disease (e.g. cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, COPD) and in apparently healthy individuals.

The clinical implications are variable and range from colonisation through to severe infection with significant morbidity, increased health care utilisation and mortality.

Currently used treatment regimens are complex, they can be poorly tolerated, and often involve multiple expensive and toxic drug combinations for prolonged periods of 12-24 months.

The microbiological and clinical outcomes vary and it is likely that pathogen and host factors as well as treatments and differences in pharmacokinetics play a role.

Our current research projects aim to:

  1. Determine the prevalence, clinical features and geospatial characteristics associated with NTM infection in Queensland.
  2. Quantify correlations between lower airway microbiota composition and infection, as a basis for development of a biomarker for NTM acquisition risk.
  3. Identify whole genome mutation and airway microbiota signatures associated with virulence, treatment response, and transmissibility.
  4. Evaluate aspects of host susceptibility to NTM disease.
  5. Develop and evaluate the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of currently used NTM drugs in patients with and without cystic fibrosis.

Publications by Rachel Thomson