My research focuses on application of lytic bacteriophage therapy in Enterococcus faecium in Dr. Breck Duerkop’s lab (Department of Immunology and Microbiology). E. faecium is a major cause of nosocomial infection in immunocompromised patients. The rising tide of antimicrobial resistance in E. faecium, combined with a dry antibiotic pipeline provide an opportunity to consider novel approaches to therapy. Phage therapy represents an intriguing treatment strategy. Proof of concept of this approach was recently shown with the successful last resort treatment of several critical ill patients infected with multidrug-resistant strains of Acinetobacter baumanii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, or Mycobacterium abscessus. Whether this same approach might be effective in E. faecium infections remains unclear. We hypothesize that characterization of phage-bacterial interactions will inform the rationale design of a phage cocktail against multidrug resistant strains of E. faecium. To address this hypothesis, we have identified several novel bacterial proteins that may serve as receptors mediating phage infection in E. faecium. Experiments to identify the function of these putative phage receptors is underway using various phenotypic assays. Future work will explore the efficacy of these phage against multidrug resistant strains of E. faecium in a mouse wound model of infection. These initial basic mechanistic and animal studies will provide a foundation for clinical translation of phage therapy in patients infected or colonized with E. faecium. I enjoy hanging out with my wife and corgi, hiking, drinking beer, brewing, watching football and hockey, traveling.
Jonathan Schultz MD, MPH
I was born and raised in the great state of Iowa, where I completed my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at Iowa State University, however not wanting to work in a chemical factory, I did the opposite and joined the Peace Corps, serving in Burkina Faso. There I lived in a mud hut in a remote rural village teaching math and science at a middle school in French on the edge of the Sahara desert. This experience sparked my interest in infectious diseases, public health and healthcare system strengthening in low resource settings. After completing my Peace Corps service, I studied Global Epidemiology at Emory University. After which, I worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) STOP Polio Program in Senegal. I then completed my MD at the University of Iowa and then a combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics (Med-Peds) residency here at the University of Colorado. My research interests are in malaria and its interactions with other infections. My primary mentor is Dr. Rosemary Rochford. I am also passionate about Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in low resource settings. My long-term career goals are to work in academic global health research vs. global health work with the CDC.
Tanit Phupitakphol, MD
Sam Windham MD, MS
I was born in Colombia and grew up in Costa Rica where I went to medical school. After doing ID rotations in the US as a med student I decided that was the career path for me so I completed my IM residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. What I like about ID is the diversity of the field including not only in the pathologies and organisms, but also the patient population you see. I have a special interest in Transplant ID and I am planning on doing a third year on Transplant. What brought me to the University of Colorado was the opportunity to explore my particular interests with the variety of transplants we do, the multicultural patient population, and the familiarity and inclusion I felt from the program. Outside of work I enjoy hiking, reading, eating Latin food, exploring Denver and dancing salsa.