News & Events
The value of and impediments to Open Data Sharing of microbial Whole Genome Sequences (WGS) - The next global machine: the Global Microbial Identifier
Speaker(s): Prof. Jorgen Schlundt, Director of NTU Food Technology Centre and Professor, School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University
When: 20 September 2017 (3:00 - 4:00pm)
Where: SBS CR5 (Level 1)
Type: Seminars


As next generation sequencing (NGS) spreads fast globally, there is an obvious potential to develop a global microbial WGS database to aggregate, share, mine and use microbiological genomic data. In the not so distant future, such data collections will be used as diagnostic tools. In the end, all microbial species and strains will be in the database, enabling any laboratory to upload its sequence and seek the correct answer, meaning species, type (clone) and antimicrobial resistance.  It is important to note that such databases will provide the basis for a platform for NGS investigations of all microorganisms, human and animal pathogens, environmental microorganisms, microorganisms used in food production (probiotics and industrial strains) etc. This system would promote equity in access and use of NGS worldwide, including in developing countries, but it should be noted that a number of obstacles to open data sharing of WGS data exists. A global system is suggested in the global initiative: GMI ( chaired from NAFTEC, NTU. This presentation will go through a number of the benefits from and obstacles to such a system.


Since 2015, Jorgen Schlundt has been Professor in Food Science and Technology at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. Prof. Schlundt has a veterinary degree and a PhD in veterinary microbiology. He worked on environmental and food safety issues in Denmark 1978-1999, including three years at the Veterinary Research Laboratory in Harare, Zimbabwe. From 1999-2010 he was Director of the Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses, WHO, Geneva, from 2010-2014 he worked as the institute director at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, and from 2014-2015 as a professor at the university. Internationally, Prof. Schlundt has participated in the development of food safety risk analysis principles and the initiation of studies to estimate the global burden of foodborne diseases, related to both chemical, microbiological and nutritional issues. He continues an active, international involvement in his work at NTU focusing on major new initiatives based on the generic principle that sound scientific decision support provides the best background for innovative improvements and sensible solutions. GMI is seen as a potential cornerstone for future decision support at global, national and local level.