Infectious Disease Research

The Division of Infectious Diseases concentrates its research efforts on developing laboratory and clinical research programs that focus on characterization of specific clinically important pathogens in regards to antibiotic utilization, epidemiology and infection control, novel diagnostics and therapeutics, and mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance. The laboratory component focuses specifically on invasive fungal infections and highly resistant bacteria. Our emphasis seeks to translate results from these projects into clinical practice to improve patient care and the outcomes of patients with serious infections.

Key Research Areas

  • Mycology - The laboratory of Dr. Sims studies the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans and the pathogenic mold Aspergillus fumigatus. The Candida research utilizes functional genomics to understand mechanisms of resistance to improve therapeutic options for these often deadly infections. Studying Aspergillus and its pathogenesis, a collaborative project with Radiation Oncology focuses on the impact of radiation exposure on fungal infection and ways to prevent infection in those with radiation exposure.
  • Epidemiology and Infection Control - Under the guidance of Dr. Band, Director of Epidemiology, several studies are underway investigating patterns of infection in order to further elucidate risk for outbreak occurrences and improve infection control and elimination. Additional studies focus on acceptance of adult vaccination programs in various populations, defining the prevalence of HIV within local populations, and defining the risk factors for relapse or reacquiring infections with organisms that require isolation in high risk populations.
  • Antibiotic Utilization - Several clinical studies are ongoing, lead by Dr. Carpenter, that evaluate trends of antibiotic usage and explore novel therapeutic interventions that improve antibiotic efficiency while minimizing or preventing associated side effects.
  • Antimicrobial Resistance - Current research is underway investigating the spread of antibiotic resistance among various difficult-to-treat pathogens, identifying practical and effective methodology to control the spread of antibiotic resistance, and assessing interventions to treat or eliminate antibiotic resistant strains. These studies integrate epidemiologic methodology, clinical microbiology techniques, strain typing, and molecular genetics technologies to provide a comprehensive assessment of the resistant organism and their effect upon patient outcomes.
  • Immunocompromised Host - Dr. Lauter has specific expertise (board certified in infectious diseases and immunology) and interest in studying host defense mechanisms predisposing compromised patients to infections.
  • HIV Medicine - Innovative approaches to the care and management of HIV infected patients is a specialty interest of Dr. Szela.
  • Transplant Infectious Diseases - Dr. Chittick has specific expertise and interest in the prevention and management of infectious disease-related issues in bone marrow/peripheral blood stem cell transplantation and solid organ transplantation.

The challenge of infectious diseases presents across the spectrum of medical and surgical specialties. There are a number of collaborative research projects ongoing with other departments and divisions at Beaumont including several of the surgery sub-specialties, quality and safety, and radiation oncology to explore these multi-disciplinary research questions.

In addition, Infectious Diseases conducts and manages numerous sponsored clinical trials in Clostridium difficile diagnosis and treatment as well as new antimicrobial interventions.

Department Highlights

Ongoing contributions to research and clinical practice by Beaumont's Infectious Diseases group are best illustrated by the success of their multidisciplinary approach that combined clinical, molecular, and epidemiological investigation to enable the first identification and analysis in the United States of Vancomycin Intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA), an emerging and highly resistant organism that presents challenges to healthcare.

Investigators

Name

Title

Email

Research Interests

Jeffrey Band, M.D.

Director, Division of Infectious Diseases; Director, International Medicine; Corporate Epidemiologist

jband@beaumont.edu

Epidemiology of infectious diseases, nosocomial infections, tropical medicine, and Legionnaires' disease.

Christopher Carpenter, M.D.

Director, Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program

ccarpenter@beaumont.edu

Invasive fungal infections, HIV infection, antimicrobial utilization

Paul Chittick, M.D. Assistant Director, Empidemiology paul.chittick@beaumont.edu Transplant infectious disease

Matthew Sims, M.D. Ph.D.

Director, Infectious Diseases Research

matthew.sims@beaumont.edu

Invasive fungal infections, antimicrobial resistance, clinical therapeutic failures, antifungal therapy, emerging pathogenic fungi

Carl Lauter, M.D.

Director, Allergy-Immunology

clauter@beaumont.edu

Infections in the compromised and immunodeficient host.

John Szela, M.D.

Director, ID Ambulatory Clinic

jszela@beaumont.edu

HIV medicine