Professor of Microbiology
The current programme of research carried out by Professor Derrick Crook's research consortium is largely focussed on translating new molecular technologies and advances in informatics into the investigation of microbial transmission, diagnosis of infectious disease and identifying novel outbreaks of communicable disease. This research is being undertaken through a joint programme of work funded by the Oxford BRC Infection Theme and the Modernising Medical Microbiology UK Clinical Research Consortium (UK-CRC), which consists of the Health Protection Agency (HPA), Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Oxford combined with the ORH NHS Trust. In Oxford this involves joint working relationships with Professor Peter Donnelly, Department of Statistics and the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics (WHG), Professor Adrian Hill, Nuffield Department of Medicine, Professor Andrew Pollard, Department of Paediatrics and Professor David Mant and Professor Alastair Gray, Department of Public Health and Primary Care. The aims and objectives of this research is to translate deep sequencing of pathogens on an epidemiological scale for tracking hospital and locally acquired infections and it is focussed on four different major pathogens; Staphylococcus aureus (including MRSA), Clostridium difficile, Norovirus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A database linkage project that facilitates investigations of patterns of infectious disease among patients using the Oxford Hospitals and GPs, is also being carried out in tangent for the first three pathogens. Overall this joint programme of work is nationally leading the way in this area and is likely to radically transform the practice of microbiology and infectious disease as well as microbial research in the coming years.
Other research currently being carried out within Derrick Crook's group covers respiratory and gastrointestinal infections and diagnostics, Haemophilus genomics and capsular switch vaccine escape in Pneumococcus. Within the area of diagnostics a HTA funded project investigating the identification of C. difficile and other pathogens from patient stool samples with MassTag multiplex PCR and MLST is being carried out.