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The Australian Collaborating Centre for Enterococcus and Staphylococcus (ACCESS) Typing and Research

Established in 1997, The Australian Collaborating Centre for Enterococcus and Staphylococcus (ACCESS) Typing and Research is a joint venture between the School of Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University and the Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Royal Perth Hospital, PathWest Laboratory Medicine – WA. The Centre is a research centre and a reference laboratory for Gram-positive bacteria, in particular methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE).

ACCESS receives bacterial isolates from laboratories throughout Australia and overseas. We participate in surveys on Staphylococcus and Enterococcus species and collaborate with other typing networks that enable us to monitor the national and international spread of these organisms. By employing a variety of phenotypic and genotypic assays we have been able to study the molecular epidemiology of MRSA and VRE.

Assays Currently Available

  • Species identification of staphylococci and enterococci by phenotypic tests, PCR, 16S rRNA sequencing and MALDI-TOF
  • Antimicrobial susceptibility testing
  • Genotypic MRSA and VRE confirmation
  • Genotyping by coagulase PCR-RFLP, PFGE, spa and drusequencing, and MLST
  • SCCmec typing
  • Genotypic toxin profiling
  • Microarray analysis with detection of 333 molecular markers (toxin, antimicrobial   resistance, virulence and regulatory genes)
  • Whole genome sequencing
  • Plasmid isolation and charactersiation
  • Plasmid manipulation and mobility

Our Scientific Research Collaborators




  • Dr Stefan Monecke, Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Technical University of Dresden and Alere Technologies GmbH, Jena
  • Dr Ralf Ehricht, Alere Technologies GmbH, Jena

New Zealand

  • Dr Deborah Williamson, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland and Institute of Environmental Science and Research, Wellington

United States of America

Current Major Research Projects

Molecular Characterisation of MRSA and VRE in Western Australia

  • For infection control purposes, since 1997 all MRSA and VRE isolated in Western Australia are referred to ACCESS for epidemiological typing. MRSA are characterised as healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) or community-associated (CA-MRSA). An annual report of the programme is available on the Western Australian Health Department website. In addition to preventing MRSA and VRE from becoming endemic in Western Australian hospitals, the programme has enabled ACCESS to study the emergence and evolution of CA-MRSA in Australia providing an insight into the frequency of S. aureus SCCmec acquisition within a region

Australian Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AGAR)

  • ACCESS is the reference laboratory for the S. aureus and Enterococcus antimicrobial resistance surveillance programmes conducted by the Australian Group on Antimicrobial Resistance(AGAR). AGAR is a network of laboratory scientists and clinicians from major microbiology laboratories around Australia that have been conducting national resistance surveillance for more than 25 years. The AGAR reports are available on the AGAR wesbite.

National Health Medical Research Council Grants


Australian Collaborating Centre for Enterococcus and Staphylococcus Species (ACCESS) Typing and Research
School of Biomedical Sciences
Curtin University
Western Australia
Dr Geoffrey Coombs

Prospective student enquiries for postgraduate studies should be directed to Dr Joshua Ramsay (