February 21, 2018

Presented by: Costi D. Sifri, MD, Associate Professor and Director, Hospital Epidemiology (UVA Hospital) Department of Infectious Diseases and International Health, University of Virginia 

About this seminar: Dr. Costi Sifri's research group is focused on exploring the molecular epidemiology and clinical consequences of transmission of multidrug resistant organisms (MDROs) in the hospital environment and novel interventions to interrupt their transmission, with particular interest in the contribution of horizontal gene transfer to the spread of resistance. They have developed and validated phenotypic screening methods to detect drug resistant pathogens in patients and the environment, assessed efficacy and costs of screening programs, evaluated the long-term outcomes of colonization with MDROs, and evaluated the impact of infection prevention methods to limit their transmission. Their work is focused on a class of MDROs called carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and the genetic determinant of CRE resistance, the carbapenemase gene blaKPC. Using a combination of traditional epidemiological investigation and novel molecular tools, we have determined that spread of CRE in the hospital environment has been driven through extensive horizontal interspecies transfer of blaKPC via multiple mobile genetic elements, including integrons, transposons, and broad host-range plasmids. They are also interested in the risk factors, clinical consequences, and transmission prevention measures of other healthcare-associated bacterial and viral pathogens, including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin resistant Enterococcus, influenza virus, and hepatitis B virus, as well as the risk factors for and consequences of infectious diseases in immunocompromised individuals.