Josh joined the University of Birmingham in 2012 to begin his PhD research on ‘Real time pathogen surveillance systems using DNA sequencing’. In March 2015 he travelled to Guinea in West Africa with the MinION portable, nanopore sequencer to establish the first mobile laboratory performing real-time, genomic surveillance of Ebola virus during an epidemic. Following that, he turned to tackle a new problem: sequencing Zika virus from low-titre, clinical samples used during the 2016 outbreak in Brazil. This led to the development of the multiplex PCR method ‘PrimalScheme’ which has become the standard approach for arbovirus surveillance. Following this, he developed the popular ultra-long, nanopore sequencing method which has been used to sequence the E. coli genome in only 8 reads, generated the most complete human genome sequence ever produced and later was used to sequence through the centromere of the X chromosome. He is currently working on methods to perform untargeted sequencing to bring rapid, pathogen identification out of the lab and into the clinic.
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