|Tammy Kielian, P.D.|
Ken Bayles, Ph.D., principal investigator of the program project grant, said he and his team are working on four projects first funded in 2009 by the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Projects will focus on biofilms produced by Staphylococcus aureus and understanding their role in causing infections of artificial devices. Biofilm is a natural biologic material that grows on surfaces -- like the plaque on teeth before brushing.
"Biofilm can affect any manmade device that is implanted into our bodies," Dr. Bayles said. "With more and more people getting implanted devices, including stents, pacemakers, catheters, orthopedic devices like knee and hip replacements, all are targets for staph infections."
|Paul Fey, Ph.D.|
"Getting rid of biofilm associated with implanted devices is difficult because biofilm bacteria are resistant to the antibiotics used to treat infections," Dr. Bayles said.
If antibiotics don't work, the device will need to be removed, followed by extensive antibiotic treatment, and then replacement with a new device. It's traumatic for the patient and adds a significant burden to health care costs, he said.
Three of the projects will be conducted at UNMC and include Dr. Bayles, Paul Fey, Ph.D., and Tammy Kielian, Ph.D. The fourth project will be headed by Alex Horswill, Ph.D., at the University of Iowa.
Congratulations, Dr Ken Bayles!
Congratulations to your team, Ken. Hal