Electron Microscopy/ Gastroenterology

The Electron Microscopy (EM) and Gastroenteritis Laboratory at VIDRL is one of a small number in Australia with significant skill levels in the diagnosis and study of viruses using electron microscopy.

The laboratory is primarily concerned with the diagnosis and analysis of viral gastroenteritis incidents of public health importance.

The laboratory routinely employs morphological methods such as negative staining EM and molecular tools such as PCR and DNA sequencing for the diagnosis and classification of viruses causing gastroenteritis norovirus shedding project.

Over the past 25 years the laboratory has developed a particular interest in the calicivirus group termed the ‘noroviruses’; these viruses are now recognised as one of the most important causes of gastroenteritis in humans worldwide. In particular the laboratory has had a number of fruitful collaborations, with a variety of researchers including Associate Professor P. Wright (Monash University) Dr M. Hellard (Burnet Institute) and Dr H. Kelly (VIDRL).

In a range of studies the laboratory has explored many aspects of norovirus virology including:

Molecular features (Marshall et al 2003)
The relationship between norovirus excretion and clinical symptoms
(Marshall et al 2001, 2004; Goller et al 2004)
Disinfection protocols for norovirus
Diagnostic procedures for norovirus (Yuen et al 2001)
The role of norovirus in mixed infections (Bettelheim et al 2001; Marshall 2002)