Elita Jauneikaite is an Imperial College Research Fellow in Bacterial Genomics and Epidemiology at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research Lead for Priority Pathogens theme in the National Institute of Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance. The HPRU is a partnership between Imperial College London, Public Health England, Cambridge University, Warwick University and Imperial College Health Partners. The Unit was funded, along with 14 others in priority areas from immunisation to radiation hazards, to bring Universities to work in partnership with Public Health England to support excellent health protection research relevant to the needs of Public Health England. It commenced 01 April 2020 for a 5 year period and builds on the legacy of the previous HPRU which ran from 01 April 2014 -31 March 2020.
Elita's research focuses on evolution, transmission and antimicrobial resistance of vaccine preventable and healthcare associated bacterial infections. I lead a research programme in bacterial pathogenesis, global trends in vaccine preventable infection and antibiotic resistance using bacterial genomics, bioinformatics and molecular biology techniques. Most important part of my research is to work together with multidisciplinary teams to combine all available information for the particular strains of the pathogen, such as clinical, large scale epidemiology, genetics of the pathogen and microbiological findings in the laboratory, to really understand all aspects that are at play when pathogen cause infections. My main research concentrates on investigating the disease-causing Group B Streptococcus (GBS), where I am using whole genome sequencing and bioinformatic analyses to inform on evolution, transmission patterns and antimicrobial resistance patterns of this pathogen. I also work on other bacterial pathogens including E. coli, K. pneumoniae, methicillin-susceptible S. aureus, S. argenteus, S. pyogenes, S. pneumoniae and C. difficile.
Prior her fellowship, Elita was a postdoctoral research associate at NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in HCAI and AMR, leading analysis of whole genome sequences of methicillin susceptible Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, C. difficile, Streptococcus and other strains collected from specified populations. Additionally, Elita was studying the phenotypes of these bacteria in relation to the WGS data to determine virulence traits and that may be linked to successful colonization, transmission or invasiveness in the case of skin and soft tissue infections or bacteraemia.
Elita completed her PhD in 2014 investigating the prevalence of serotypes and genotypes of disease-causing Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates in Singapore over the last 15 years. Elita used 1760 pneumococcal whole genome sequences to investigate the structure of this pneumococcal population in relation to the epidemiological data available and pneumococcal vaccine implementation in Singapore. This was achieved with a collaboration between four major hospitals in Singapore, Genome Institute of Singapore and University of Southampton.
et al., 2020, Systematic review of Group B Streptococcal capsular types, sequence types and surface proteins as potential vaccine candidates., Vaccine, Vol:38, ISSN:0264-410X, Pages:6682-6694
et al., 2020, COVID-19 epidemic severity is associated with timing of non-pharmaceutical interventions
et al., 2020, Uncovering infant group B streptococcal (GBS) disease clusters in the UK and Ireland through genomic analysis: a population-based epidemiological study, Clinical Infectious Diseases, ISSN:1058-4838