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Infectious Diseases Research

Some of the key areas of research in the Department of Pediatrics' Division of Infectious Diseases include:

  • Clinical outcomes and treatment in maternal, adolescent and pediatric HIV infection
  • Anti-infective pharmacokinetics, safety, and efficacy
  • Molecular diagnostic test development and testing for neonatal, childhood, and adolescent infections
  • Kawasaki disease etiology, pathogenesis, and treatment
  • Microbiome studies in asthma, allergy, prematurity, and autism
  • Clostridium difficile infection epidemiology and molecular genetics
  • Clinical and diagnostic features of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Vaccine utilization, safety, and efficacy
  • Antibiotic and healthcare resource stewardship and physician decision-making
  • Pathogenesis and therapy for Epstein-Barr viral infections
  • Antimicrobial resistance mechanisms and novel therapeutics for Gram-negative bacteria
  • Neuropathogenesis and genomics of herpes simplex virus
  • Pathogenesis and immunologic responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • Epidemiology and management of infectious diseases in pediatric transplant patients

Current Research Areas

Browse our current research areas below, and be sure to look for the most recent clinical trials and review our recent publications for more information.

Antimicrobial and Healthcare Resource Stewardship

Larry K. Kociolek, MD, MSCI:
  • Quality improvement in influenza vaccine administration
  • Quality improvement in healthcare provider blood culture testing decisions

Sameer J. Patel, MD MPH:

  • Impact of rapid diagnostic tools on antimicrobial prescribing
  • Optimizing the electronic health record to optimize antimicrobial prescribing
  • Comparative effectiveness of antimicrobial treatment regimens

Bacteriology and Biomarkers of Infection

Mehreen Arshad, MD:

  • Development of novel therapeutics to combat drug-resistant Gram negative pathogens
  • Perinatal transmission and infant gut colonization with resistant Gram-negative bacteria

 Larry K. Kociolek, MD, MSCI:

  • Humoral immune response to difficile colonization in infants
  • Clostridium innocuum as an emerging multidrug-resistant diarrheal pathogen
  • Optimizing the diagnosis of pediatric C difficile infection
  • Genome-based transmission mapping of C difficile

Leena B. Mithal, MD MSCI:

  • Impact of in utero and perinatal microbial exposures on neonatal outcomes including sepsis, asthma, and neurodevelopment
  • Molecular diagnostics including rapid placental diagnostics for chorioamnionitis and 16/ 18S rRNA gene PCR for microbial pathogen detection in pediatric patients
  • Perinatal transmission of multi-drug resistant Gram-negative pathogens

Patrick C. Seed, MD, PhD:

  • Formation and function of the in utero microbiome
  • Role of maternally-derived microbiota in neurodevelopment
  • The nasopharyngeal microbiome and pneumonia pathogen acquisition and resistance
  • Secondary succession of the microbiome with stem cell transplantation and its role in the acquisition and resistance to multi-drug resistant pathogens, graft vs. host disease, and modification of therapeutics
  • Role of the premature infant microbiome in growth, metabolism and pathogen resistance
  • The microbiome in the therapeutic response and failure to pediatric obesity therapies
  • The microbiome and pediatric cardiac health
  • The microbiome of chronic T cell lymphoma, response to therapy, and disease progression
  • Bioengineering the microbiome to reduce medication toxicities and the development of antimicrobial resistance
  • The microbiome and pneumonia severity
  • The molecular pathogenesis of urinary tract infections and host subversion by uropathogens


Lisa Akhtar, MD, PhD:

  • Mechanisms of anti-viral immunity in the pediatric brain

Ben Z. Katz, MD:

  • Epidemiology and natural history of chronic granulomatous disease

Leena B. Mithal, MD MSCI:

  • Cord blood molecular signatures of immunologic development and for diagnosis of neonatal sepsis

William J. Muller, MD, PhD:

  • Epidemiology and clinical impact of infections in pediatric transplant and oncology patients
  • Impact of novel diagnostics for infectious diseases in immunocompromised populations

Anne H. Rowley, MD:

  • Identifying the acute plasmablast response to specific infections including COVID-19
  • Determining target antigens of the acute B cell response to infection and inflammatory diseases

Patrick C. Seed, MD, PhD:

  • The early life microbiome in asthma and allergy development
  • Immune responses to urinary tract infection with spinal cord injury

Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Prevention

Ben Z. Katz, MD:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome following infectious mononucleosis in college students
  • Prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome in the pediatric population

Larry K. Kociolek, MD, MSCI:

  • Clinical and molecular epidemiology of  difficileinfections
  • Optimizing clinical diagnosis of  difficileinfection
  • COVID-19-related healthcare epidemiology studies
  • Collaborative healthcare epidemiology research with the CDC Emerging Infection Program and Healthcare-Associated Infections Pediatric EpiCenters Program

Stanford T. Shulman, MD:

  • Epidemiology of Group A streptococcus

Tina Q. Tan, MD:

  • Epidemiology of invasive systemic and skin and soft tissue CA-MRSA infections and molecular characteristics in invasive CA-MRSA
  • Pneumococcal antibiotic susceptibility in the era of PCV vaccines

 Infectious Diseases Policy

Ravi Jhaveri, MD:

  • Hepatitis C virus disease outcomes and health care utilization
  • Hepatitis C virus screening strategies for exposed infants, universal screening of pregnant women
  • Influenza vaccine uptake and outcomes

Leena B. Mithal, MD, MSCI:

  • Optimizing routine targeted congenital CMV screening and management

 Tina Q. Tan, MD:

  • Pharmacists in commercial and independent pharmacies as complementary providers of vaccines in the community
  • Development and implementation of recommendations for the improved use of pertussis containing vaccines in adolescents, adults and pregnant women globally
  • Impact of vaccine education programs for both healthcare providers, with focus on cancer patients 


Lisa Akhtar, MD, PhD:

  • Neurovirulence determinants of neonatal HSV disease
  • Evaluating HSV genetic variation and evolution in brain and body compartments over time

Ellen G. Chadwick, MD:

  • AIDS Clinical Trial Unit: International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group
  • Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study Initiative

Taylor Heald-Sargent, MD, PhD:

  • Latency and reactivation of cytomegalovirus infection in solid organ transplant recipients
  • Pathogenesis and immune response of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children

Jennifer Jao, MD, MPH:

  • Metabolic complications of HIV-infected pregnant women and their children
  • Pregnancy outcomes in women with perinatally acquired HIV
  • Long-term effects of intrauterine HIV/antiretroviral exposure
  • Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Treatment of HIV-Infected pregnant women and prevention of perinatal transmission
  • Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study Maternal Exposures Working Group and Metabolic and Nutrition Working Group

Ravi Jhaveri, MD:

  • VZV post-exposure prophylaxis in high-risk patient populations

Hepatitis C virus screening, management, and outcomes

Anne H. Rowley, MD:

  • Etiology and pathogenesis of Kawasaki Disease
  • Identifying the acute plasmablast response to specific infections including COVID-19

Stanford T. Shulman, MD:

  • Etiologic studies of Kawasaki Disease

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