Department of Medicine
Professor and Chief, Infectious Disease; Vice Chair for Business Operations
Infectious Disease; Microbial Pathogenesis
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).