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Respiratory syncytial virus in Australia: Molecular Epidemiology and Evolution


This project aims to better understand the molecular epidemiology and evolution of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in Australia using whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic approaches. There is growing interest in ‘non-influenza' respiratory viruses, particularly RSV which has significant impacts, both in terms of morbidity and mortality, in young children and the elderly. This research project offers a unique opportunity to develop both wet lab and computational skills in the growing area of Pathogen genomics.


Dr John-Sebastian Eden.

Research location

Westmead - Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Program type



Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of acute respiratory infections in humans. Severe disease leading to hospitalisation is common amongst young children, the elderly and immunocompromised, and the mortality in these groups is comparable to influenza virus. However, in contrast to flu, we lack an understanding of the basic patterns and processes that drive the evolution and spread of RSV in Australia. This project will utilise high-throughput whole genome sequencing, phylogenetics and comparative genomics to characterise circulating RSV strains from multiple sites across the country in order to answer fundamental questions of RSV biology including: Where do new strains come from? What are the evolutionary processes shaping viral diversity? What factors determine epidemiology and seasonality across the diverse populations and climates in Australia? Does virus genetics contribute to clinical outcome?

Additional information

A PhD scholarship (with top-up) is available to support this project:

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2473