Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a common and debilitating disease associated with large healthcare costs. Studies have so far failed to fully elucidate the role of the sinonasal microbiota in the pathogenesis of CRS. This could be due to deficiencies in the breadth of identification of the existing microbiota, and/or the resolution of commonly applied techniques, so that changes in the metabolic function are not detected.
Preliminary research from our team suggests the co-occurrence of viruses, bacteria and fungi in healthy controls and CRS affected patients, but no studies have examined the functions of the total sinonasal microbiome in CRS. In the proposed research we will characterise the sinonasal metagenome of CRS patients in comparison to healthy controls. We will focus on the function of Staphylococcus aureus to determine how changes in the genome of this bacterium could be either a direct cause of chronic inflammation or indirectly influence microbial community dynamics. The information gained from the initial stages of this research will be used to assess, for the first time, the feasibility of molecular-based approaches to effectively inform personalised treatment plans.