Center for Microbial Pathogenesis

Girls’ Perineal Microbiomes Change Over Development, After Urinary Tract Infection
Girls’ Perineal Microbiomes Change Over Development, After Urinary Tract Infection 150 150 Mary Bates, PhD

Next-generation sequencing reveals different flora associated with developmental milestones in girls, as well as disruptions in patients with a history of urinary tract infection. In a new pilot study, researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital evaluated the microbiomes of girls at specific developmental timepoints. They found shifts in the perineal microbiome corresponding with important developmental milestones,…

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Lauren Bakaletz Named 2021 Allen Distinguished Scholar in Pediatric Research
Lauren Bakaletz Named 2021 Allen Distinguished Scholar in Pediatric Research 1024 575 Abbie Roth

Lauren Bakaletz, PhD, director of the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis in the Abigail Wexner Research Institute (AWRI) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, was named the 2021 Allen Distinguished Scholar in Pediatric Research. The award is given in honor of former Nationwide Children’s CEO, Steve Allen, MD, and his role in growing the AWRI into a preeminent research institution.…

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Targeting Bacterial Biofilm Linchpin Prevents and Treats Recalcitrant Biofilm-Mediated Infections
Targeting Bacterial Biofilm Linchpin Prevents and Treats Recalcitrant Biofilm-Mediated Infections 1024 575 Abbie Roth
Illustration showing the precise pattern of a biofilm - a perfect, 3D matrix

A new study highlights two approaches with substantive efficacy and potential for broad application to combat biofilm-mediated diseases. Chronic and recurrent bacterial diseases are treatment-resistant due to the ability of the pathogens to establish biofilms, which act as fortresses built of extracellular DNA and proteins to protect populations of the bacteria. For more than 11…

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Collaborative Study Seeks to Understand Gene Expression Changes During Acute Events in Patients With SCD
Collaborative Study Seeks to Understand Gene Expression Changes During Acute Events in Patients With SCD 1024 575 Natalie Wilson

Researchers explore gene responses among SCD patients hospitalized for acute complications to inform understandings of the under-studied disease. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a chronic, genetic disorder characterized by structural changes in circulating red blood cells. According to the CDC, SCD affects approximately 100,000 individuals in the United States alone and accounts for 3,000 births…

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Using Genomics to Unlock Secrets of Recurrent Ear Infections
Using Genomics to Unlock Secrets of Recurrent Ear Infections 1024 575 Abbie Roth
conceptual art of DNA

Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) is responsible for many acute and recurrent infections in children, such as otitis media. Otitis media – middle ear infection – is a common type of recurrent infection in children, with as many as 700 million acute cases and 300 million recurrent cases each year. One type of bacteria responsible for…

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Unlocking the Structure of Biofilms
Unlocking the Structure of Biofilms 1024 575 Kevin Mayhood
Illustration showing the precise pattern of a biofilm - a perfect, 3D matrix

Researchers characterize a component that stabilizes biofilms, a step toward learning ways to disrupt protection of harmful bacteria. In the extracellular DNA lattice of bacterial biofilms, nature appears to reprise the functional equivalent of Holliday junction (HJ) intermediates — cross-shaped structures formed during the process of genetic recombination, researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital report in Proceedings…

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Study Shows Promising Host-Targeted Approach for the Prevention and Cure of Gonorrhoea in Women
Study Shows Promising Host-Targeted Approach for the Prevention and Cure of Gonorrhoea in Women 1024 683 Nationwide Children's

In research published in mBio, researchers from the Abigail Wexner Research Institute (AWRI) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics have discovered non-antibiotic (host-targeted) therapies for the effective treatment of Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections by repurposing existing drugs. Gonorrhoea is the second most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection (STI). The Centers for Disease Control and…

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Redirecting the Natural Immune Response to Disrupt Bacterial Biofilms
Redirecting the Natural Immune Response to Disrupt Bacterial Biofilms 150 150 Lauren Dembeck

A new vaccine candidate has the potential to improve outcomes for patients with chronic, recurrent diseases, such as ear infections. Could this platform technology be an important key in solving the antibiotic resistance threat? Most bacterial species prefer to live in biofilms, where they are protected from antibiotic treatments and can lead to chronic and recurrent…

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Gene Expression Changes With CFTR Modulator Treatment
Gene Expression Changes With CFTR Modulator Treatment 150 150 Mary Bates, PhD

Patients with cystic fibrosis show transcriptomic changes after starting treatment with lumacaftor/ivacaftor. In a new study, researchers from Nationwide Children’s analyzed the gene expression profiles of cystic fibrosis patients before and after treatment with the drug lumacaftor/ivacaftor. The findings have implications for the evaluation of existing medications as well as the development of new treatments. Care…

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Development of Innovative Scoring Systems for Sickness and Tissue Damage From Clostridium difficile Colitis
Development of Innovative Scoring Systems for Sickness and Tissue Damage From Clostridium difficile Colitis 1024 575 Lauren Dembeck

In a new publication, the team reported the development of two novel scoring systems to consistently and efficiently assess sickness and tissue injury during antibiotic-associated C. difficile colitis in a murine model. “My laboratory at Nationwide Children’s Research Institute has collaborated for several years with two other laboratories, those of Dr. Steven Goodman and Dr. Michael Bailey.…

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What’s Next for NEC?
What’s Next for NEC? 898 504 Abbie Roth

Red. White. Black. These are the colors of necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC. When surgeons open the distended abdomens of the tiny infants affected by NEC, they see a mottled mixture of red (inflamed), white (ischemic) and black (dead) tissue. Their first task is to assess whether or not there is enough viable tissue to save.…

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Bacteria Hiding Out Inside Epithelial Cells May Promote Recurring Ear Infections
Bacteria Hiding Out Inside Epithelial Cells May Promote Recurring Ear Infections 1024 575 Rachael Hardison

Middle ear infections, also known as otitis media (OM), remain a health care concern for children in the United States and across the world, despite recent therapeutic and technological advances. For the subset of children with chronic or recurring infections, OM becomes a significant socioeconomic burden for caregivers. Chronic or recurrent episodes of OM can…

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A Better Way to Administer Probiotics?
A Better Way to Administer Probiotics? 150 150 Abbie Roth

Researchers have designed a delivery system to treat premature infants with necrotizing enterocolitis that may have applications beyond the NICU. Most of the time, we think biofilms are bad news. And when pathogenic microbes form biofilms, they are. The biofilms created by pathogenic microbes create fortresses that make them resistant to attack by the immune…

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Why Obese Women Have More Surgical Infections After Cesarean Delivery
Why Obese Women Have More Surgical Infections After Cesarean Delivery 1024 575 Jeb Phillips
Illustration showing the precise pattern of a biofilm - a perfect, 3D matrix

Even though all pregnant woman typically undergo a standardized antiseptic preparation before a cesarean delivery, obese women are twice as likely to develop a surgical site infection after the procedure as women with a normal body mass index. A new, first-of-its-kind study from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital shows why — and…

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Mechanism for Expulsion of DNA from NTHI Described
Mechanism for Expulsion of DNA from NTHI Described 150 150 Abbie Roth

Researchers at Nationwide Children’s publish breakthrough discovery revealing how DNA and DNABII proteins are released into the biofilm matrix. Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) bacteria, a common culprit in otitis media, are known for their ability to create dense biofilms. As the subject of much biofilm and vaccine research, they are increasingly understood as complex and surprising organisms.…

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Needle-free Immunization Prevents Experimental Otitis Media
Needle-free Immunization Prevents Experimental Otitis Media 1024 575 Tiasha Letostak, PhD
Close up, color image of someone extending a gloved hand with a small patch face up on their pointer finger that resembles a circular adhesive bandage that has a smaller, blue square patch on its center

The first data to demonstrate the efficacy of a simple, needle-free vaccine delivery system for middle ear infections. Otitis media (OM), or middle ear infection, accounts for approximately 30 million doctor visits a year in the U.S. The pathogen nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) causes the majority of cases of ear infection, including chronic OM, recurrent OM, and…

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The Maternal Microbiome: How Stress During Pregnancy Impacts Female Offspring in Adulthood
The Maternal Microbiome: How Stress During Pregnancy Impacts Female Offspring in Adulthood 150 150 Tiasha Letostak, PhD

A recent study suggests a critical window of pregnancy where stress is able to influence the microbiome and intrauterine environment, with lasting behavioral consequences. Previous research has demonstrated that stress during pregnancy changes the composition of the intestinal microbiota and is related to the emergence of behavioral disorders such as anxiety and depression. A new…

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Mechanism of Bacterial Adhesion to Platelets Revealed
Mechanism of Bacterial Adhesion to Platelets Revealed 150 150 Tiasha Letostak, PhD

Researchers investigate a key protein required to bind two distinct receptors on the bacteria Streptococcus oralis involved in infective endocarditis. Infective endocarditis (IE) is an infection of the endocardium, usually of the valves, and is caused by infectious agents that are typically bacterial. Understanding how these bacterial infections occur is important to the prevention, treatment…

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Hospitals Should Use Genotyping to Monitor Bacterial Infections
Hospitals Should Use Genotyping to Monitor Bacterial Infections 150 150 Kevin Mayhood

A team led by a pulmonologist-researcher found that in a children’s hospital, an unexpected pathogen emerges as a common cause of infection. The bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii is a widely-reported cause of healthcare-associated infections, particularly in adult intensive care units in developing countries. But a retrospective study of isolated cases at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that Acinetobacter pittii recently emerged…

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The Collapse of Biofilms?
The Collapse of Biofilms? 1024 575 Jeb Phillips
Illustration showing the precise pattern of a biofilm - a perfect, 3D matrix

Scientists are working to eliminate the causes of countless chronic and recurrent human infections. Before the discoveries that could lead to biofilm eradication, before the idea that he was even working on treatments for the bacterial communities that are crucial to most human infections, Steven Goodman, PhD, had a mystery on his hands. For nearly 15 years. Dr. Goodman, then a biochemist…

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Researchers Describe Molecular Switch Controlling “Chameleon” Bacteria
Researchers Describe Molecular Switch Controlling “Chameleon” Bacteria 150 150 Abbie Roth

Closing the gap on developing a vaccine for middle ear infections. Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics in Australia have discovered groundbreaking evidence that will help vaccine developers in their search for a vaccine against multiple infections of the respiratory tract, including middle ear infections. The research, published today in Nature…

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Building the Modern-Day Vaccine
Building the Modern-Day Vaccine 150 150 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

Vaccine development used to be straightforward. Now, the challenges are many and the successes are few. What will it take to overcome the obstacles presented by both immunology and society? For 160 years, vaccine after vaccine succeeded at safely and effectively preventing its targeted illness using a set of standard strategies. Scientists knew they simply…

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