Faculty Profiles

Howard, Faden
Email: hfaden@buffalo.edu
Phone: (716) 323-0150

Specialty/Research Focus:
Pediatric Infectious Diseases; Pediatrics

Research Summary:
My research over the past 5 years has focused on the recent outbreak of community-associated MRSA skin and soft tissue infections. In our first publication entitled “Clinical and Molecular Characteristics of Staphylococcal Skin Abscesses in Children,” we demonstrated that MSSA accounts for 30-40% of the infections and that MSSA and MRSA share many of the same molecular characteristics including pulse field types and PVL genes. Based on our observations in the first report, we published a second article entitled “Importance of Colonization Site in the Current Epidemic of Staphylococcal Skin Abscesses.” This second publication demonstrated a high rate of rectal colonization in children infected with USA300 strains of S. aureus. We are currently investigating the mechanisms of colonization with USA300 strains of S. aureus. In the past, my lab focused on the role of nasopharyngeal colonization in otitis media. The current research continues in the same vein although the pathogen is different and the sites of colonization are different. We believe that colonization patterns are the key to disease evolution. I am also interested in the mechanism of community-acquired C. difficile diarrhea among children. I am investigating the mechanism of tonsil and adenoid hypertrophy among children with sleep apnea with a focus on chronic viral infections.

Oscar, Gómez
Gómez, Oscar, MD, PhDAssociate Professor and Division Chief, Infectious Diseases
Email: oscargom@buffalo.edu
Phone: (716) 323-0150

Specialty/Research Focus:
Pediatric Infectious Diseases; Pediatrics

Research Summary:
I am a leader in childhood infectious gastrointestinal diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 86% of all child deaths occur in the developing world. Six preventable diseases account for most of the 5.6 million yearly deaths in children younger than five years of age: pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, neonatal pneumonia or sepsis, preterm delivery and asphyxia at birth. My overall goal is to help decrease the morbidity and mortality of childhood infections through excellence in research, education and patient care. As chief of the Infectious Diseases Division in the Department of Pediatrics, I provide excellence in patient care locally and abroad, and I oversee patient care services, infection control and antibiotic stewardship programs. I established and lead a global health research program, the International Enteric Vaccines Research Program (IEVRP), on the epidemiology, pathogenesis and vaccine development of childhood gastrointestinal infections. This program is dedicated to biomedical research, scientific training and international collaborations in Latin America, Southeast Asia and the United States. My collaborative scientific achievements with IEVRP include developing rapid diagnostic tools for diarrheal disease surveillance, identifying the most prevalent diarrheal pathogens and detecting emergent intestinal pathogens. My collaborators and I also worked on vaccine development research studies on pediatric infectious diseases associated with a high burden of disease. A long-term goal of these studies is to facilitate public health interventions for managing and preventing common infection diseases in children. Our studies on bacterial pathogenesis include genetic and phenotypic characterization of emergent E. coli pathogens and the role of surface proteins on gut colonization. Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) bacteria are important causes of diarrhea in travelers and children in the developing world. Our vaccine development research evaluates immunogenicity and immunoprotection of ETEC antigens delivered as live vaccines or purified proteins. I oversee our pediatric infectious diseases fellowship program and teach trainees in medicine and biomedical research. My clinical trainees include medical students, residents and fellows. I also teach and mentor research trainees at different career levels, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty. My academic leadership has been instrumental in fostering the careers of numerous American and international trainees in basic, translational and clinical infectious diseases research.

Mark, Hicar
Hicar, Mark, MD, PhDAssistant Professor
Email: markhica@buffalo.edu
Phone: (716) 323-0150

Specialty/Research Focus:
Pediatric Infectious Diseases; Pediatrics

Research Summary:
My lab currently focuses B cell responses during inflammation with current main projects focusing on HIV and Kawasaki disease. Currently, the HIV field is in desperate need for greater knowledge regarding the mechanisms involved in induction of neutralizing antibodies and mucosal immune responses against HIV. I have characterized a collection of human antibodies that target structural epitopes on the Envelope protein of HIV. Current work is being pursued to define the targets of these antibodies and to assess if they can recognize cutting edge HIV vaccine candidates. Designing improved immunogens that elicit enhanced antibody activity from vaccination is the overall goal of my HIV research. Kawasaki Disease (KD) is an inflammatory disorder of children that can lead to dire consequences. KD is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children and primarily affects children under 5 years of age. However, the cause remains unknown. Some groups have shown indications that B cell responses target a specific entity. My work focuses on characterizing how KD presents in Western New York and explores a role for specific B cell responses in the pathogenesis of this mysterious disease. In my career I hope to become an accomplished physician-scientist who significantly impacts both the fields of lymphocyte development and HIV infection. Mucosal immune responses are of particular interest since they are so vital in the first line of defense in HIV and most other viral infections.

Shamim, Islam
Islam, Shamim, MDClinical Assistant Professor
Email: shamimis@buffalo.edu
Phone: (716) 323-0150

Specialty/Research Focus:
Pediatric Infectious Diseases; Pediatrics