Message from Dr. Eric Houpt, MD – Division Chief, Infectious Diseases, December 2020

Eric Houpt, MD

The year 2020 has been memorable for the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, having been marked by enormous COVID-19 efforts, nine new R01s to nine faculty, and an always busy clinical workload. Included in our overview are the details of the division’s incredible accomplishments. The Infectious Diseases faculty, fellows, and staff are looking forward to 2021 with hopes of seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

Eric Houpt, MD

Enormous COVID Efforts, Several Items of Note

Drs. Sifri, Jackson, Bell, Mathers, Platts-Mills, Donowitz, Muto, McManus, Hogan, Enfield, and Madden have staffed the Hospital Epidemiologist/COVID pager 24/7 since March 11 2020

Amy Mathers: COVID testing in Clinical Microbiology, wastewater testing at UVA, swab production for Virginia/VDH

Josh Eby: Medical Director, Employee Health

Patrick Jackson: Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial, NIH ACTT COVID Clinical Trial Consortium

Scott Heysell: COVID-19 convalescent plasma trial/ COVID-19 research prioritization committee/ COVID-19
phase 1 vaccine trial

Barb Mann: BSL-3 COVID laboratory

William Petri and Mayuresh Abhyankar: COVID immunotherapy and vaccine research using BSL3 mouse model

Girija Ramakrishnan: COVID Research Ramp up

Mami Taniuchi: COVID-19 surveillance in Bangladesh and Pakistan, more below

Eric Houpt and Elizabeth McQuade: Virginia Coronavirus Serology Project, VDH

Exceptional NIH Year: 9 New R01s in the Division to 9 Faculty:

Cirle Warren: Alanyl-glutamine supplementation of standard treatment for C. difficile infection

Stacey Burgess: Gut microbiome communication with the bone marrow regulates intestinal inflammation

James Platts-Mills: Epidemiology and impact of diverse Campylobacter species in low-resource settings

Chelsea Marie: the role of PKC in cryptosporidiosis

Scott Heysell: Urine Colorimetry for Tuberculosis Pharmacokinetics Evaluation in Children and Adults

William Petri, Jr: Role of Th17 in Severe and Recurrent C. difficile Infection

Margaret Kosek: Genomic Epidemiology of Campylobacter to Improve Disease Control in Low and Middle-Income Countries

Eric Houpt with Amy Mathers, Hardik Parikh, Scott Heysell, and Girija Ramakrishnan: Mycobacterium avium lung disease

Molly Hughes: chemokines and antimicrobial resistance

Ivy Foundation Awards for COVID-19 Research

Bill Petri
• Mucosal Subunit Vaccine for SARS-CoV2
• AI-assisted SARS-CoV-2 Virus Detection based on Label-free Electrical Biosensor

Bill Petri, Barb Mann
• IL-13 as a Predictor and Contributor to Hypoxic Respiratory Failure in COVID-19
• Scott Heysell, Craig Slingluff, and Brent French
• Clinical Trial of Multi-Peptide Vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 and Future SARS Variants
• Pre-Clinical Trials of Peptide/Gene Vaccine Combinations for SARS-CoV-2 and Future SARS Variants

Patrick Jackson
• A Killed Whole Cell Reduced Genome Bacterial SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Stalk Region Vaccine

Amy Mathers
• Elected to the Council-on-Microbial-Sciences (term 2020-23) for the American Society of Microbiology (there are only 10 members nationally).
• UVA School of Medicine Dean’s Clinical Excellence Award

Becca Dillingham
• Received the 2020 Edlich-Henderson Innovators of the Year award for their work on improving Care Retention and Outcomes Among HIV patients with Innovative Mobile Health Technology. The award recognizes University faculty members or a team of faculty researchers whose work is making a major impact on society.
• Received a sub-award from the University of Colorado to adapt PositiveLinks for their Children’s Hospital Colorado Immunodeficiency Program. The project involves Bree Campbell.
• Received a grant from the Virginia Department of Health to conduct an evaluation of the Comprehensive Harm Reduction program in Virginia. This program is a key strategy to reduce the spread of infectious diseases associated with injection drug use as well as promoting better health for people who inject drugs. This involves Chelsea Canan, Jackie Sherbuk, and Julie Schexnayder.
• Received NOA for an R34 sub-award with University of Texas-San Antonio, “PositiveLinks for Youth (PL4Y): Adapting a multipmodal evidence-based mHealth intervention to increase engagement in HIV care.”
• Received a renewal from VDH to continue Hepatitis C treatment and training program ($316,000 for the upcoming year)

PositiveLinks Team was awarded the American Academy of HIV Medicine/Institute for Technology for Health Care in HIV Practice Award. This annual award administered by the American Academy of HIV Medicine is given to the most outstanding HIV care-related technology and includes a $20,000 award. Congrats to the PL team!

Bill Petri
• Received the 2021 Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

Chris Arnold
• Received the 2020 Virginia American College of Physicians Inpatient Subspecialist Teaching Award

Chris Moore
• Received $100K from GIDI for his Collaborative Seed Grant proposal, “Determining predictive models of bloodstream infection by using big data and deep learning”.

Eric Houpt
• Elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology
• 2019 OurHealth Charlottesville/Shenandoah Valley Best Bedside Manner Award
• Appointed to Research Committee IDSA

James Platts-Mills
• Awarded a grant from BMGF “Global Pediatric Diarrhea Surveillance (GPDS) Analysis.” $857,136
• Awarded a grant from World Health Organization “Meta-analysis of input data of enteric diseases studies used by IHME and MCEE.” $19,563
• Received the Early Achievement Award from the UVA Medical Alumni Association

Jhansi Leslie
• Awarded an NIH F32 grant “The role of the ‘Western’ diet in increasing severity of Clostridium difficile infection.”

Kate McManus
• Elected Co-chair of HIVMA’s National Ryan White HIV Medical Providers Coalition Steering Committee
• Awarded the “Thomas P. McCormick Advocacy Scholarship” to the SYNC Conference by the Communit Access National Network, which is given annually to an advocate dedicated to improving access to HIV care and treatment under Medicaid.

Mami Taniuchi
• Awarded a grant from BMGF (OPP1193124 ES TAC grant’s 3rd supplement) $260,000. Supplement will support the continuation of the polio and AMR surveillance for 12 months in Bangladesh and to develop a NGS based direct detection assay for polio from sewage impacted water.
• Received a grant “COVID-19: Surveillance using environmental samples in Bangladesh” to do sewage surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in Dhaka from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the amount of $864,995
• Sewage surveillance work was featured in Washington Lee University’s The Column
• With Neng & Roshne – tested wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 to assist Amy Mathers with the UVA sewage study

Molly Hughes
• Elected to the Harrison Teaching Professorship

Margaret Kosek
• Received a grant from Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation “Vaccine trial site for Shigella vaccine” (5-6 yrs.)
• Received a CDC grant “Conducting Integrated Infectious Disease and Public Health Research in Peru” (5 yr.)
• Received a COVID supplement to NSF ROSES grant (Environmental Determinants of ID)- support for 4 UVA undergrad/grads who are working with JH COVID dashboard and high-level resolution data for Latin America
• Received a supplement from UN International Atomic Energy Agency contract for metabolomics assays of environmental enteropathy

Liz McQuade and James Platts-Mills (Co-I)
• Awarded a grant from Wellcome Trust “Impact of Shigella, rotavirus, and other enteric vaccines on aetiology-specific diarrhoea, antibiotic use, and exposure of subclinical infections to antibiotics among children in low-resource settings.”

Taison Bell
• Awarded the Inpatient attending of the year award by the internal medicine residents
• Awarded the Darden Z Society’s Edgar P. Shannon Award from Darden
• Awarded the C. Stewart Sheppard Distinguished Service Award from Darden
• Received the Business Insider Award for top 30 under 40 transforming the future of healthcare

Yusra Alkabab
• Received the Burroughs Wellcome Fund/ ASTMH postdoctoral fellowship in tropical infectious diseases “Glycemia dynamics and the impact on tuberculosis treatment in Bangladesh

Chris Moore, Tania Thomas and Scott Heysell
• Received a U01 for an investigator-initiated clinical trial, “A randomized clinical trial of early empiric anti-Mycobacterium tuberculosis therapy for sepsis in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Bill Petri, Becca Dillingham, Greg Townsend, and Eric Houpt
• Were presented the Research Achievement awards by President Ryan. 4/9 awards went to our Division (ID&IH)

Kate McManus and Liz R. McQuade
• Awarded a GIDI grant – “Inequity in Infectious Diseases” on the topic of “AIDS Drug Assistance Program Support for People Living with HIV with Low Incomes: Quantifying the Impact of Health Policy Changes, Structural Racism, and COVID-19.”

Tania Thomas and Jie Liu
• Received an iTHRIVE supplement to investigate the temporal dynamics of SARS-CoV2 transmissibility by measuring subgenomic mRNA from nasopharyngeal swabs. Part of a multi-project supplement with Jeff Sturek (Pulm/Critical Care) and Larry Lum (Hematology/Oncology) “Convalescent Immune Plasma for the Treatment of COVID-19: Mechanisms Underlying the Host Immunologic and Virologic Response”

Filed Under: DOM in the News, News and Notes, Notable Achievements, Top News

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