About Dr Matthew O’Sullivan

It is estimated that 180 000 cases of hospital acquired infection occur in Australian Hospitals each year. The most common pathogen responsible is Staphylococcus aureus. The majority of these infectious should be preventable but despite infection control interventions, hospital acquired infections continue to occur. Matthew O’Sullivan’s research combines high resolution molecular strain typing methods, including whole genome sequencing, with comprehensive infection surveillance to pinpoint where and why Staphylococcus aureus is spreading in hospitals, leading to new strategies to prevent hospital acquired infections.

Matthew O’Sullivan is an infectious diseases physician and clinical microbiologist, based at the Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Westmead Hospital. His research interest is in the management and prevention of hospital-acquired infections, particularly Staphylococcus aureus. He has developed a high-resolution, inexpensive and high-throughput binary genotyping system for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is used to identify transmission of infection as it occurs, in the hospital setting. This work will be extended to methicillin susceptible S. aureus (MSSA), supported by an NHMRC project grant (#1065908) to commence in 2014.

In addition to being a senior lecturer within the Marie Bashir Institute for Emerging Infections and Biosecurity, University of Sydney, Matthew O'Sullivan is a staff specialist in infectious diseases and clinical microbiology at Westmead hospital. He holds a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology and a PhD from the University of Sydney. His main area of research is in the surveillance and prevention of hospital acquired infection (particularly Staphylococcus aureus) through the practical application of molecular epidemiology, feedback of surveillance data and through judicious antimicrobial use.
Dr O'Sullivan developed these research interests while working on projects during the course of his specialty training in infectious diseases and microbiology, and subsequently pursued them full time in the form of a PhD project "A prospective methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus typing system for infection control: Design and effectiveness".
He has been a chief investigator on three NHMRC project grants, "Microevolution and transmission of MRSA in a hospital setting" (#1010452), "Strengthening clinicians' capacity for infection control: a multi-method study to reduce MRSA infection and transmission" (#1009178) and "The true burden of nosocomial staphylococcal disease: genomic markers of transmission of methicillin-senstive and -resistant Staphylococcus aureus".

Matthew O'Sullivan's research group is based at the Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at Westmead hospital, with close ties to the clinical infectious diseases and diagnostic microbiology services at the hospital. This is a very fertile environment for collaboration between clinicians, diagnostic microbiology staff and researchers.