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Thomas                         Russo

Thomas A. Russo MD

Department of Medicine

Professor and Chief, Infectious Disease; Vice Chair for Business Operations

Specialty/Research Focus

Infectious Disease; Infectious Diseases; Microbial Pathogenesis

 
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Professional Summary:

I care for hospitalized patients at the Veterans Administration hospital, and the hospital is the site of my clinical teaching.

I teach medical students in lecture settings and small group sessions in their first and second years, including courses in lung respiration, musculoskeletal, renal and microbiology-immunology. We intermittently have students in our lab and participate in a grant designed to encourage medical students to become physician-scientists.

Residents attend my grand rounds; I also teach fellows in all aspects of their training and mentor those who perform their research projects in my lab.

I have an active, nationally funded translational research program. My research focuses on bacteria called Gram-negative bacilli (GNB) including Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter baumannii and a new hypervirulent variant of Klebsiella pneumoniae.

These GNB cause infection in nearly every non-intestinal site in the body. The hypervirulent variant of K. pneumoniae is both fascinating and worrisome. Unlike its predecessors, it is capable of causing infection in young, healthy hosts and spreading nearly anywhere in the body from the initial infected site, including the eyes and brain. GNB-caused infections result in the loss of billions of health care dollars, millions of work days, and hundreds of thousands of lives each year.

GNB are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, including strains that have become resistant to all available antibiotics. Unfortunately, there are virtually no new antimicrobial agents active against highly resistant GNB in the pharmaceutical “pipeline”. To address this formidable clinical challenge, we have increased our understanding of the bacterial factors that are critical for these GNB to cause infection. We are using this information to develop vaccines for the prevention of infection and antibodies that can be used to treat infection. Other studies involve identifying potential bacterial drug targets; this information will be used to develop new classes of antibiotics.

I work with a number of UB collaborators, including Dr. Campagnari (Microbiology) and Drs. Umland and Schultz (Structural Biology/ Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute).

Education and Training:
  • Fellowship, Infectious Disease, Tufts-New England Medical Center (1988)
  • Residency, Medicine, Harvard-New England Deaconess Hospital (1985)
  • MD, CM, McGill University (1982)
Employment:
  • Vice Chair of Business Operations, Department of Medicine, University at Buffalo
  • Professor, University at Buffalo
  • Senior Staff Fellow, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (1989–1994)
  • Clinical Assistant Instructor, Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Tufts University (1988–1989)
Awards and Honors:
  • University at Buffalo Exceptional Scholar Sustained Achievement Award (2012)
  • Visionary Inventor: UB technology licensed to Zeptometrix Corp. (2009)
  • Top 100 Principal Investigators at the University at Buffalo (2005)
  • SUNY Inventor award (for U.S. patent # patent 6,410,703) (2003)
  • Top 100 Federal Grantees at the University at Buffalo (2002)
  • F. Carter Pannill Award (1997)
  • IDSA-Stuart Pharmaceutical Fellowship in Infectious Diseases (1987)
  • Hinton Book Award-Residency-Harvard-NE Deaconess Hospital (1985)
  • James McGill Award-McGill University (1981)
  • James McGill Award-McGill University (1980)
  • Faculty Scholar-McGill University (1980)
  • University Scholar-McGill University (1979)

Research Expertise:
  • Acinetobacter baumannii pathogenesis
  • Actinomycosis: infections caused by the genera Actinomyces
  • Bisphosphonate-induced osteonecrosis
  • Enteric gram-negative bacilli: Infections caused by Gram-negative bacilli
  • Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli pathogenesis: pathogenesis vaccine development
  • Host-pathogen interactions: Understanding mechanisms by which extraintestinal patghogenic E. coli modify host defenses
  • Identification of antimicrobial targets
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae pathogenesis: drug target identification pathogenesis biofilms
  • Microbial pathogenesis: Understanding the mechanisms by which extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli, Acinetobacter, and Klebsiella cause disease
  • Pathogenesis of urinary tract infection
  • Vaccine development: Extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Acinetobacter
Grants and Sponsored Research:
  • April 2011–March 2015
    Analysis of A. baumannii capsule as a vaccine candidate
    Veterans Administration
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $604,476
  • September 2011–October 2014
    Identification of New Drug Targets in Multi-Drug Resistant Bacterial Infections
    Department of Defense (DOD)
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    $1,744,854
  • October 2010–October 2013
    Electrical Stimulation of Titanium for the Prevention and/or Eradication of A. baumannii and S. aureus Biofilm Infections on Osseointegrated Prostheses
    Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program-Peer Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $621,591
  • August 2011–July 2013
    Identification of genes essential for survival of hypervirulent Kleb. pneumonia
    NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $435,875
  • March 2007–April 2012
    Pathogenesis of Aspiration Pneumonitis
    NIH
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $1,981,250
  • July 2001–June 2005
    The Pathogenesis of Grand Negative Bacillary Pneumonia
    US Dept of Health, Educatoin and Welfare
    Role: Principal Investigator
See All (6 Total) >
Patents:
  • Identification of a vaccine candidate from an extraintestinal isolate of E A potential vaccine candidate or diagnostic tool for infections due to extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli

Journal Articles:
See All (70 Total) >
Books and Book Chapters:
  • Russo TA. Actinomycosis. Harrison‘s Principles of Internal Medicine. 2011.
  • Russo TA Johnson JR. Diseases caused by gram-negative enteric bacilli. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 2011.
  • Russo TA. Agents of Actinomycosis. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 2009.

Professional Memberships:
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (2006)
  • Fellow, Infectious Diseases Society of America (1993)
  • American Society of Microbiology (1989)
Service Activities:
  • Faculty Senate; Member (2009)
  • School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Faculty Council Steering Committee; Member (2000–2002)
  • School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Faculty Council; Department Representative (1999–2001)
  • T35 Steering Committee-Research in Infectious Diseases, Microbiology & Immunology for Medical Students; Committee Member (2011)
  • Committee for Evaluation of MD-PhD Training Program; Chair (2011)
  • Ad Hoc Committee for Qualified Promotions; Committee Member (2010)
  • Council Undergraduate Research Academy; Advisory Committee (2009)
  • University Faculty Recognition Committee; Committee Member (2007)
  • MD-PhD Steering Committee; Committee Member (2004)
  • Veterans Administration Institutional Care and Usage Committee; Chair (2001–2003)
  • University Biosafety Committee; Committee Member (1999)
  • Medical Student Mentoring Program; Student Mentor (1997–2003)

Clinical Specialties:
Clinical Offices:
Insurance Accepted:

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Contact Information

141 Biomedical Research Building
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14214
Phone: (716) 829-2674
Fax: (716) 829-3889
Email: trusso@buffalo.edu

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