Research Associate Professor, Microbial Infection and Immunity
Dr. Hall-Stoodley's research focuses on two strategies that pathogenic bacteria use to persist in the host and cause chronic infections in the human respiratory tract: 1) biofilm development (adherent and/or aggregated bacteria associated with mucosal epithelia) and/or, 2) intracellular residence in host cells.
1) Biofilm development promotes persistence by increasing the resistance to host innate immune defenses and to antimicrobial agents. Respiratory pathogens can form biofilms during colonization and in diseases where mucociliary clearance is compromised such as in chronic otitis media (OM), primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) or in cystic fibrosis (CF). Biofilm-associated infections are chronic in part because antimicrobial therapy treats single bacterial cells more effectively than adherent aggregated cells. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a key pathogen responsible for OM, the most common infection in children and the largest cause of childhood antibiotic prescription. Biofilm formation represents an important phenotype contributing to the antibiotic tolerance and persistence of S. pneumoniae in chronic or recurrent OM. Pneumococcus can adapt to an adherent biofilm lifestyle by utilizing alternative metabolic pathways to facilitate survival under diverse conditions. Metabolic proteins, conserved across both the planktonic and biofilm phenotypes, may represent targets for future treatment strategies.
2) Intracellular residence is another bacterial persistence strategy and macrophages can provide an intracellular niche for many pathogenic mycobacteria. Mycobacterium abscessus is a pathogenic rapidly growing nontuberculous mycobacterium that disproportionately affects people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases, such as CF and COPD. We are working with collaborators in the Department of Microbial Infection & Immunity and the Center for Respiratory Health, Nationwide Children's Hospital to develop a human cell model to investigate M. abscessus pathogenesis and better understand mechanisms of host persistence in this emerging highly antibiotic-resistant pathogen.
714 Biomedical Research Tower (BRT)
460 W 12th Ave, Columbus OH 43210