Microbial 21 questions. How do microbiologists identify the microorganisms responsible for your patient’s infection?

Dr Jessica Farrell1,2

1University Of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia, 2Whiteley, North Sydney, Australia

Introduction: Microorganism identification is paramount for the provision of appropriate treatment measures for infections in healthcare. Have you ever wondered, once a sample has been sent for pathology, how the pathologists and laboratory technicians identify the cause behind your patient’s infection? With this short presentation my aim is to give you a glimpse into the other side of healthcare and the techniques used by microbiologists to identify microorganisms and their antimicrobial resistances to assist other healthcare professionals in providing patient treatment.

Methods: I will provide an overview of traditional biochemical microbial identification techniques as well as the incorporation of molecular based techniques which increase sample processing time


Dr Jessica Farrell is a project coordinator and microbiologist investigating novel treatments for biofilm associated infections and contamination as part of a collaborative IMCRC grant in association with Whiteley Corporation, the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. Her qualifications include a Diploma and Bachelor of Science (Honours class I) majoring in Microbiology and PhD from Western Sydney University. Her research interests focus around biofilms and their ability to contaminate surfaces and objects. She was awarded her doctoral thesis in 2018 for her research on the assessment of pathogenic biofilm contamination of high touch hospital surfaces and how this may influence hospital acquired infection.

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