I'm an evolutionary biologist by training, but my current research includes field ecology, molecular biology, phylodynamics and bioinformatics.  I take a systems biology approach to asking questions about how our changing world (and especially urbanisation), is likely to impact infectious disease risk for people living in the tropics.

  • Urbanisation
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • Zoonoses
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2019 - HOT NORTH Career Development Fellow
  • 2015 - ARC DECRA Fellow

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 17+ research outputs authored by Dr Cadhla Firth from 2014 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

National Health & Medical Research Council - Ideas Grants

The ecological and evolutionary factors influencing the establishment and persistence of community associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) in resourcelimited, high-burden settings

Indicative Funding
$603,908 over 3 years
Our preliminary data suggests that there is high circulation of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) in the highlands of PNG. We propose a hospital- and community-based study to determine the ecological and evolutionary factors associated with the establishment of the highly virulent MRSA ST93 clone in the highlands of PNG. This study will provide vital information for clinicians, public health professionals and policy makers in PNG to guide treatment and interventions to reduce the impact of MRSA-associated AHO in the country. Indeed, these findings will also inform strategies for the treatment and prevention of MRSA-associated AHO in other resource-limited settings.
Paul Horwood, Izzard Aglua, Andrew Greenhill, Simon Smith, Cadhla Firth, Eike Steinig and Celestina Aho (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Kundiawa General Hospital, Federation University Australia, Menzies School of Health Research and Institute of Medical Research (PNG))
Staphylococcus Aureus; MRSA; Osteoarthritis; Papua New Guinea; Zoonosis; Genomics

Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre Limited - Contract Research

Can portable genome sequencing provide a rapid, comprehensive, point-of-care diagnostic test for Far North Queensland hospitals and healthcare centres?

Indicative Funding
$49,987 over 2 years
Respiratory disease, fevers, and sepsis are common in FNQ and treatment often requires admission to hospital. These infections have many different causes, and diagnosing them requires multiple tests that take weeks to perform. Consequently, patients are treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics before a pathogen is identified, leading to poorer outcomes for the patient and contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections. We will trial new genome sequencing technology as a point-of-care diagnostic test for fever, sepsis, and pneumonia at Cairns Hospital, and test the hypothesis that this approach will increase the proportion of infections that are diagnosed and reduce the time-to-diagnosis.
John McBride, Cadhla Firth, Simon Smith, Joshua Hanson, Matt Field, Emma McBryde, John Miles, Damon Eisen and Christopher Heather (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and Queensland Health)
Genomics; Healthcare; pathogens

Menzies School of Health Research - 2019/2020 Hot North Pilot and Translation Projects

Portable genome sequencing as a point-of-care diagnostic test in remote tropical Australia.

Indicative Funding
$36,159 over 1 year
Respiratory disease, fevers, and sepsis are common in tropical northern Australia, and treatment often requires admission to hospital. We will trial new portable genome sequencing technology as a point-of-care diagnostic test for fever, sepsis, and pneumonia at Thursday Island Hospital in Far North Queensland. We will test the hypothesis that this new approach will increase the proportion of infections that are diagnosed and reduce the time it takes to achieve a diagnosis. Throughout the course of this project, clinical staff and health workers will have the opportunity to be trained in specimen preparation, genome sequencing, and data interpretation.
Cadhla Firth, John McBride, Joshua Hanson, Matt Field and Anthony Brown in collaboration with Simon Smith (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Medicine & Dentistry, Cairns & Hinterland Hospital & Health Service and Torres & Cape Hospital & Health Service)
Infectious Diseases; Diagnostics; Respiratory Health

Menzies School of Health Research - HOT NORTH Fellowship

Metagenomics for Pathogen Detection and Dynamics in Australia?s Tropical North

Indicative Funding
$182,779 over 2 years
Metagenomic NGS (mNGS) can reveal features of the host response to infection, identify genes associated with antimicrobial resistance or virulence, and allow for real-time epidemiological tracking of outbreaks. Given the complex clinical and epidemiological landscape of Australia?s tropical north, mNGS techniques have the potential to improve diagnostic capabilities, reduce time-totreatment and exposure to unnecessary antimicrobials, and increase our understanding of the patterns of emergence and spread of infectious diseases in the region.
Cadhla Firth in collaboration with John McBride (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and College of Medicine & Dentistry)
Metagenomics; Next Generation Sequencing; Infectious disease

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • The Threat of Feral Pigs as a Reservoir of Zoonotic Diseases in North Queensland (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Development of a Framework for determining Zoonotic emerging Infectipous Disease risk profiles at Traditional Food Markets as a method for implementing long-term Risk Mitigation measures and improved Self-governance (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The effects of rainforest fragmentation on parasite infections in terrestrial mammals (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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  4. Prof Emma McBryde
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