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Genome Trakr: Ohio State-ICOPHAI Project

The Genome Trakr network is the first distributed network of laboratories to utilize whole genome sequencing for pathogen identification. It consists of public health and university laboratories that collect and share genomic and geographic data from foodborne pathogens. The data, which are housed in public databases at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, can be accessed by researchers and public health officials for real time comparison and analysis that promises to speed foodborne illness outbreak investigations and reduce foodborne illnesses and deaths.

Since 2016, Ohio State has submitted more than 1,000 samples of multidrug resistant salmonella to the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition to be part of this database that are analyzed at the Infectious Disease Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory here at Ohio State using the whole genome sequencing approach.

Universities partnering with Ohio State on this project include those located in Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico and Tanzania as well as government entities in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Ultimately the product of this enormous effort will be a public molecular epidemiology reference database useful for designing pathogen detection assay, providing evolutionary context for emerging outbreaks.