Our research teams focus on local and global initiatives, molecular biology, microbiology, immunology & epidemiology.
Dr. Cherabuddi’s conducts research through clinical trials of novel antimicrobial compounds that enable transition to patient care. He also conducts research with ID Pharmacy specialists evaluating antibiotic resistance and patient outcomes. He collaborates with the researchers at the Emerging Pathogen Institute on (re)emerging viral infections including Zika, Chikungunya and Keystone viruses and on Modelling and Prediction of Antimicrobial Resistance utilizing epidemiological data and whole-genome sequencing.
Dr. Wang’s research falls within the general themes of host-pathogen interactions and is divided into two major areas: studies of gut microbiome in Clostridioides difficile infection and methods development for accurate and sensitive detection of drug resistance in HIV and HCV. We are interested in studies of gut microbiome in patients with C. difficile infection, and engineering the microbiome using gnotobiotic mouse models to treat and prevent C. difficile infection. A second area of research centers on developing next-generation drug resistance assays for HIV and HCV.
Dr. Iovine’s research focuses on understanding the relationships between innate immunity and Gram-negative bacteria.One of innate immune defences studied in her lab is autophagy, a eukaryotic process by which host cells sequester intracellular bacteria within unique, double-membrane-bound compartments that effect bacterial killing after fusion with lysosomes. One of Dr. Iovine’s research projects seeks to identify novel virulence factors in enteric bacteria which mitigate autophagy-dependent killing, using bacterial mutagenesis and autophagy/invasion assays.
Dr. Lauzardo’s lab researches molecular epidemiology using spacer oligonucleotide typing (Spoligotyping), mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units variable number tandem repeats (MIRU-VNTR) and whole genome sequencing) have been instrumental to the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) outbreaks in the community by classifying strains into clusters of isolates with identical genotype patterns, with clustering serving as a proxy measure for transmission.
The Clark-Curtiss team endeavors to understand mechanisms of pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis & interactions between this pathogen and its human host. Knowledge gained from these studies is being implemented in the development of an effective vaccine against tuberculosis using recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccine (RASV) delivery systems producing M. tuberculosis antigens. Because the mycobacterial antigens used in the RASV-Mtb candidate vaccine are also present in non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), studies are underway to determine if the vaccine also confers cross-protective immunity to increasingly problematic infections by antibiotic-resistant NTMs.
Dr. Kwara’s research focuses on clinical pharmacology of antiretroviral and antituberculosis therapy in patients with HIV and tuberculosis coinfection. He is the Principal Investigator of an National Institutes of Health grant that seeks to investigate the pharmacokinetics, drug-drug interactions and pharmacogenetics of HIV and TB treatment in children in Ghana. Collaborated research with UF College of Pharmacy will characterize the genetic determinants of antiretroviral drug response including virologic outcome and long-term toxicities.
The Infectious Disease Pharmacokinetics Laboratory at the University of Florida (IDPL) is focused clinically on the treatment of patients with serious infections, including tuberculosis, HIV, and fungal infections. The IDPL provides therapeutic drug monitoring using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography (GC). Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is a well-established clinical tool, and the IDPL focuses on drug assays that most other clinical labs do not offer.
Dr. Beatty’s research focuses on Chagas disease, a neglected tropical disease caused the parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi. He is currently investigating the prevalence of this infection here in Florida and the United States. His lab also studies the kissing bugs (triatomines) that transmit the infection to humans and other animals.
Dr. Vittor’s research team studies factors that drive the emergence of vector-borne diseases. At present, her research continues to look at the effect of land use change on vector-borne disease, but now also includes an examination of the role of host susceptibility and the population’s prior immune history. The findings from these studies will aid in our understanding of where and why novel pathogens to emerge, and will also aid the development of vaccines and therapeutics.
OUR Clinical Trials
Clostridium difficile colitis results from disruption of normal healthy bacteria in the colon, often from antibiotics. C. difficile can also be transmitted from person to person by spores. It can cause severe damage to the colon and even be fatal.
A bloodstream infection (BSI) is defined as one or more positive blood cultures associated with systemic signs of infection such as fevers, chills, and/or hypotension. BSIs can be divided into primary and secondary. Primary BSIs occur without another defined nidus of infection. Secondary BSIs develop from a detectable area of infection as the source of the bacteremia.
New methods to treat bacterial infections without using antibiotics – monoclonal antibodies, bacteriophages. Since we are running out of effective antibiotics, there is a pressing need for these studies.
Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. In the United States, rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.