Infectious Diseases Research
Infectious Diseases Research

Research within the Infectious Disease Division has focused on best practices for decreasing antimicrobial resistance and hospital acquired infection, prevention of communicable infection and vaccine education and implementation. We have been involved in studies of new drugs for treatment of fungal infections in neonates, new diagnostics and impact of rapid testing for respiratory viruses, risk factors for catheter-associated infections and MRSA or VRE colonization, and the changing epidemiology and bacterial resistance related to staphylococcal and gram negative pathogens. We have also been instrumental in building alliances nationally with the ultimate goal of enhancing the health and well-being of children and families.

Vaccine Education and Treatment Unit

Building on its long tradition of excellence in infectious diseases, Children's Mercy has been designated as part of the national network of eight National Institutes of Health Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEU), which perform important vaccine research not sponsored by industry. Children's Mercy is the pediatric unit collaborating with the University of Iowa's adult unit. Christopher J. Harrison, MD, Director of the Infectious Disease Research Laboratory, is the principal investigator of the Pediatric Subunit site and Mary Anne Jackson, MD, is co-investigator.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Program

In 2007, the Infectious Disease Society of America and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America issued guidelines to support antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs). Such programs use computer surveillance, data collection, dedicated personnel, and policies and procedures that limit inappropriate use of antimicrobial agents and optimize their selection, dosing, and duration of therapy. The utilization of an ASP program reduces antimicrobial resistance, length of hospital stay and costs, and subsequent morbidity and mortality. However, a recent study shows the prevalence of ASPs in pediatrics is limited and opportunities exist to improve current programs. Children's Mercy is one of only a handful of hospitals to institute such a program. Directed by Dr. Jason Newland and pharmacotherapy specialists Drs. Leslie Stach and Diana Yu, the program utilizes a prospective audit of 17 monitored antimicrobials with specified interventions. Erin Hedican is the current data analyst for the program.

Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory

Dr. Christopher Harrison directs the bench lab and Dr. Scott Duncan is the current post-doctoral faculty. Dr. Harrison has envisioned the bench lab to be a source for quality translational, clinical and epidemiologic research into the pathogenesis, immunology and outcome of viral and bacterial diseases in children. It focuses on selected pathogens' responses to vaccines and treatments, as well as new potential interventions.

Other Infectious Disease faculty members involved in bench-based projects include Dr. Angela Myers, whose work involves evaluation of genetic-based polymorphisms related to histamine degradation. This project endeavors to localize a patient-specific risk factor that may predispose to vancomycin Red Man syndrome. Dr. Myers is also an integral member of the vaccine research program.

Dr. Doug Swanson, who is an active investigator into the changing epidemiology of pneumococcal infections and performs serotyping of pneumococci, also has an active project that is evaluating antigenic diversity of non-tuberculous mycobacterial strains.

Dr. Barbara Pahud, who joined the ID division in February 2011 after completing her ID fellowship at University of California and Stanford University, brings expertise in vaccine research and the clinical assessment of immunization adverse events.

Dr. J. Christopher Day is the Director of Transplant Infectious Disease services and the newest member of the ID division.

Dr. Raj Selverangan, Director of the Microbiology Laboratory, has actively collaborated with the Infectious Disease division on several laboratory-based studies dealing with diagnostic testing. He also is the primary investigator for a multi-center initiative with the Center for Disease Control evaluating rotavirus vaccine efficacy, with co-investigators, Drs. Harrison and Jackson.

2012 Research

2011 Research »

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