Infectious diseases fellows are actively involved in research projects. During the two-year fellowship, eight months are available for research. Fellow projects depend on previous experience, research interests and projects that are in progress in the laboratories of the faculty members.
Fellows learn about the ongoing and potential projects of the laboratories during orientation. After meeting with potential faculty mentors and the research director for the fellowship, Dr. Rajat Madan, fellows chose a clinical, translational or laboratory based project to focus their efforts.
The UC Division of Infectious Diseases has a wide range of research activities in which fellows can participate. Whether your interest is clinical investigation, cellular immunology or molecular microbiology, there are faculty members actively involved in ongoing research in these areas.
Currently, there is NIH-funded research in immunology, mycology and host-pathogen interaction and HIV clinical-translational projects. The major research programs in the division are concerned with medical mycology, opportunistic infections and clinical management of HIV/AIDS.
Fellows may also chose projects and mentors outside of the Division of Infectious Diseases. Past fellows have worked on projects within the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Fellows utilize the research resources of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the Cincinnati VAMC.
The UC College of Medicine has a long tradition of excellence in the pathological and clinical aspects of fungal diseases. The geographic location of Cincinnati places it directly in an endemic region for Histoplasma capsulatum and Blastomyces dermatitidis.
Since 1980, there has been a concerted effort to develop a core of investigators dedicated to basic and clinical research in medical mycology. This team consists of investigators with primary appointments in three departments: Internal Medicine, Pathology, Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology.
Our division members use cutting-edge technologies for these studies (and others) including metagenomics and single cell RNA sequencing, spectral and image stream flow cytometry and human intestinal organoid cultures.
The current projects include:
- Analysis of the immunogenic determinants from H. capsulatum that activate murine and human T-cell clones. Analysis of T-cell receptor repertoire among Histoplasma-specific T-cells. Studies of cytokine-mediated immunity to H. capsulatum. Examination of apoptosis as a host defense mechanism to H. capsulatum
- Studies of the interaction between human phagocytes and H. capsulatum yeast and microconidia including characterization of modulators of phagolysosomal conditions involved in yeast inhibition and killing
- Sequencing the genome of P. carinii and genetic profiling of the organism in response to antimicrobial agents; understanding the signaling mechanisms associated with attachment
- Analysis of the epidemiology of P. carinii infections in animals and transmission of P. carinii species and strains. Molecular characterization of species and strains of P. carinii. In vitro cultivation of P. carinii and drug susceptibility testing of P. carinii
- Studies examining aspects of human P. carinii infection including epidemiology, development of in-vitro assays of viability and drug susceptibility, cell-mediated and humoral-immune responses
- Studies of the pathogenesis of Aspergillus species
- Metal ion signaling in development and function of "trained" immunity to fungal infection
- Role of metallothioneins and zinc regulation in licensing canonical and non-canonical inflammasome pathways.
- Role of gut microbiome in C. difficile infection pathogenesis
- Impact of obesity and host genetics in affecting severity in C. difficile infection
- The role of the gut microbiome in development of antimicrobial resistance during chemotherapy and organ transplantation.
- Host intestinal epithelial defenses against C. difficile infection using human intestinal organoids and enteroids
- Harnessing human organoids and metagenomics to unravel host immune-microbiota interactions during cancer chemotherapy
- Studies of population genetics of HIV
- Clinical studies of HIV Cure
- Clinical investigations to reduce inflammation and complications of HIV
- Clinical trials to treat and prevent HIV infection
- Clinical and translational studies of the interplay between tuberculosis and cardiometabolic diseases
- Digital science approaches to improving healthcare outcomes associated with infectious disease diagnostic test utilization and interpretation
- Vaccine trials to prevent COVID-19
The University of Cincinnati is a regional referral center for patients with HIV infections. An active clinical and basic research program related to HIV infection and complicating opportunistic infection is based within the Division of Infectious Diseases.
We are home to an active and successful AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In addition to ACTG and HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) sponsored clinical trials, the program participates actively in pharmaceutical studies. The ID Division is active in the Coronavirus Prevention Network (CoVPN) sponsored by the NIH. The Infectious Diseases Center, a multidisciplinary clinic for HIV and general ID, facilitates these research endeavors. Members of the faculty are also engaged in studies of hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular events in AIDS patients and human papilloma virus in HIV-infected individuals.
Interdepartmental cooperation allows opportunities for interaction with faculty within the Departments of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology; Pathology, and other divisions within the Department of Internal Medicine. Allied research interests include basic and clinical immunology, molecular microbiology and health-outcomes research.