Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases Research Opportunities

Potential Infectious Diseases Research Projects:

Diana F Florescu, MD 559-8609

  • Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease in pediatric solid organ transplant recipients
  • Fungal infections in pediatric solid organ transplant recipients
  • CMV in pediatric small bowel transplant recipients
  • Fungal infections in immunocompromised pediatric population.
  • Achromobacter bacteremia - case series. UNMC experience. This is in collaboration with Dr. Peter Iwen, PhD Path/Micro.
  • Scopulariopsis in bone marrow transplant recipient. Case report. This is in collaboration with Dr. Peter Iwen, PhD Path/Micro.
  • BK nephropathy in kidney transplantation

Alison Freifeld MD 559-8650

Development of a rapid point-of-care PCR test for TB and other infectious pathogens
In collaboration with chemical engineers from UNL, we are developing a rapid test for detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex organisms in sputum. The new PCR technology (patent pending) is able to amplify specific sequences from sputum in less than 15 minutes. The goal is to develop a rapid, inexpensive point-of-care method for use in developing countries. Recent preliminary studies on sputum samples from TB clinics in South Africa have shown excellent specificity and good sensitivity. At UNMC, we have been working with the non-pathogenic BCG strain of mycobacteria as a surrogate for MTb, and with purified MTb DNA so that no infectious exposure is associated with the on-campus research.

We also plan to adapt the rapid technology to the detection of other pathogens including stool viruses, including norovirus and other caliciviruses.

Infections in Stem Cell Transplant Recipients

We are examining the incidence and types of infections in autologous HSCT recipients and specifically looking at the incidence of fungal infections. This has implications for whether or not empirical antifungal therapy is necessary during the course of fever and neutropenia, with our hypothesis being that it is unlikely to be useful. A large database is underway as UNMC is a major center for autoHSCT, where we perform over 100 auto's yearly.

We also plan to pursue participation in a multicenter study of zoster vaccine in this patient population, to see if it might prevent subsequent VZV reactivations in this group.

Other potential studies include those analyzing the utility of blood cultures.

Howard Gendelman, MD 559-3549

Ziba Jalali, MD, PhD 559-5392

  • Conducts clinical and translational research in the areas of HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis.

Mark Rupp, MD 559-5276

Infection Control Issues:

  • Hand Hygiene: Correlation between hand hygiene and nosocomial infection. Relationship between use of a long-acting hand hygiene antiseptic and antimicrobial resistance.
  • Environmental aspergillus and invasive aspergillosis: Study of correlation between environmental aspergillus and invasive aspergillosis in immunocompromised hosts.
  • Device utilization and infection prevention: Study of necessity of invasive device utilization (IV catheters, foley catheters, etc) and infection.
  • Surgical site infection/prophylactic antibiotics: Assessment of timing of prophylactic antibiotic delivery and surgical site infection. Other preventative efforts can also be studied (skin preparation, oxygen saturation, hypothermia)
  • Efficacy of silver alloy coated urinary tract catheters: Follow up of surveillance for UTI following introduction of silver-alloy coated urinary tract catheter.

Antimicrobial resistance/antimicrobial utilization:

  • Correlation between use/resistance
  • Utilization guidelines
  • MLSb-resistance in MRSA
  • Significance of serum cidal testing in orthopedic infections ヨ correlation with outcome

Prosthetic device infections:

  • Adherence of coagulase-negative staphylococci to biomaterials
  • In-vivo models of prosthetic device infection

Miscellaneous projects in specific infectious diseases:

  • Case Report and review: Erlichiosis in Nebraska
  • MRSA vs MSSA
  • ESBL prevalence/significance
  • Community-acquired MRSA

Philip W. Smith, MD 559-8650

Areas of research interest:

Biopreparedness and public health

Examples of projects:

  • Survey of long term care facility influenza preparedness (published in JAMA)
  • Survey of hospital preparedness (accepted by American Journal of Disaster Medicine)
  • Survey of pharmacies regarding oseltamivir stockpiling (in progress)
  • The use of geographic information systems in public health
  • Tele-epidemiology, the use of distance technology to evaluate infectious disease outbreaks

Biocontainment unit

Examples of projects:

  • A study of disinfection of transport units for highly infectious patients
  • A study of methods of disinfection of large equipment used in biocontainment units
  • An analysis of breaks in technique during the donning and doffing of isolation garb

Infection control in geriatrics and nursing homes

Examples of projects:

  • An analysis of antibiotic control programs in long=term care facilities
  • A study of infections occurring in home health care patients
  • An analysis of Clostridium difficile diarrhea in nursing homes
  • A survey of nursing home evacuation plans
  • Mathematical modeling of nursing home influenza outbreaks

General ID

Examples of projects:

  • An analysis of patients with a positive semiquantitative IV tip culture, and the outcomes and cost effectiveness of such cultures
  • An analysis of cefazolin pharmacokinetics in renal failure patients
  • A study of the impact of VRE carriage on long term survival
  • A study of the impact of, and compliance with, "curbside" ID consult recommendations
  • The cost effectiveness and utilization of EBV panels


Susan Swindells, MD 559-5392

  • Various projects in the broad area of HIV/AIDS are available. Resident should contact Dr. Swindells for additional information. Visit the UNMC HIV Program page for more information regarding potential projects with Dr. Swindells.