Game-changing Study Aims to Identify Pneumonia Pathogens Faster with Breakthrough Technologies

Game-changing Study Aims to Identify Pneumonia Pathogens Faster with Breakthrough Technologies

Pneumonia has been around for centuries and remains a major cause of morbidity, mortality, and healthcare expense today.

The most commonly used method for identifying respiratory pathogens in pneumonia - bacterial culture - was first developed in the 1880s. Though there have been many breakthroughs in our treatment of pneumonia - such as antibiotics and mechanical ventilation - our clinical identification of respiratory pathogens still relies on the time-consuming culture-based techniques. In response, The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has expressed a critical need for rapid, accurate identification of pathogens in pneumonia. 

Leading the team that is stepping up to the plate is Robert Dickson, MD, an Associate Director of MCIRCC and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. His work as principal investigator of Rapid Pathogen Identification in Pneumonia Using Real-time Metagenomics and Ultrasensitive PCR has the potential to transform the way pneumonia is diagnosed, and was recently awarded $428,875 in NIAID R21 funding over two years.

Pneumonia is a 21st century problem that we are still diagnosing with 19th century tools,” says Dickson. “This study aims to change that.

The project utilizes ultrasensitive PCR detection techniques for quantifying lung bacteria, as well as a new-to-market palm-sized DNA sequencer called the  MinIon (developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Oxford, UK) for real-time pathogen identification. 

This powerful combination could potentially tell clinicians which bacteria are present in the lungs (“who’s there?”) as well as the total bacterial burden (“how much?”) in less than four hours, and for less than $100. In addition, clinicians may also be able to use bacterial genetic information to rapidly determine antibiotic resistance and optimal antibiotic selection. Current culture-based techniques require 24-72 hours to provide this information.

“For the past decade, the University of Michigan has been a field-leader in the study of the microbiome, using bacterial gene sequencing to study the bacterial communities in our bodies. But until recently, these molecular techniques were too slow, expensive, and labor-intensive for clinical use,” explains Dr. Dickson. “Our study team has recently shown that by using recent advances in these DNA-based techniques, we can identify the pathogens that cause lung infections within hours rather than days or weeks.” 

Dickson partnered with Scott VanEpps, MD, PhD from Emergency Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, John Erb-Downward, PhD from Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Duane Newton, PhD from Pathology and the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory to bring together a powerhouse of clinical diagnostics and research expertise.

By accelerating the identification of respiratory pathogens, optimizing administration of appropriate antibiotics, and minimizing unneeded antibiotic use, Dickson and his team will improve the treatment of lung infections creating a timeless win for tackling pneumonia.

Mad Minute with Raysha Simon

Mad Minute with Raysha Simon

The MCIRCC Marketing team has grown! Raysha joined the team earlier this month and specializes in creative storytelling, design, and thoughtful audience engagement.

MCIRCC Members Promoted by Board of Regents

MCIRCC Members Promoted by Board of Regents

The Board of Regents at its May 17 meeting approved recommendations for new appointments and promotions for regular associate and full professor ranks, with tenure and/or promotion of faculty on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. The promotions are presented below by school, in alphabetical order.

College of Engineering

James J. Moon, associate professor of biomedical engineering, without tenure.

Kayvan Najarian, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, without tenure.

College of Pharmacy

James J. Moon, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, with tenure.

Anna A.S. Schwendeman, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, with tenure.

Medical School

Colin R. Cooke, associate professor of internal medicine, with tenure.

Michael Gaies, associate professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases, with tenure.

Scott Hummel, associate professor of internal medicine, with tenure.

Theodore J. Iwashyna, professor of internal medicine, with tenure.

James J. Moon, associate professor of biomedical engineering, without tenure.

Kayvan Najarian, professor of computational medicine and bioinformatics, with tenure; and professor of emergency medicine, without tenure.

 

Clinical and research track promotions

The following U-M clinical professor track promotions and research professor track promotions were promoted to the Board of Regents May 17. 

Medical School

Neeraj Chaudhary, clinical associate professor.

 

Mad Minute with Chris Gillies

Mad Minute with Chris Gillies

This month MCIRCC welcomes Chris Gillies to the data science team. Chris is an expert in working with researchers to develop web applications and tools to suit each project.

One stop shop: New clinic bundles key services after ICU discharge

One stop shop: New clinic bundles key services after ICU discharge

Rooted in research, a Michigan Medicine clinic aims to help intensive care unit patients receive proper follow-up care and prevent readmissions.

After close observation and treatment in an intensive care unit, patients who have fought through their critical illness are sent home to continue recovery.

But then what?

For many patients, they may not be prepared for the recovery process following an ICU admission.

“It’s interesting, because we all celebrate when a patient survives a severe critical illness and is able to go home, but really that’s only half of the battle,” says Jakob McSparron, M.D., assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Michigan Medicine. “The next step is thinking about follow-up care and how to help them recover effectively and keep them from being hospitalized again.”

And it’s why a new clinic at Michigan Medicine was established to aid in that recovery process.

The University of Michigan Post ICU Longitudinal Survivor Experience Clinic (U-M PULSE) is one of just a few such clinics in the country. Set up to provide multidisciplinary care, it allows patients to be seen by a pharmacist, social worker and physician in the same visit.

Read the full story at Michigan Health Lab...

Mad Minute with Mohsen Hooshmand, PhD

Mad Minute with Mohsen Hooshmand, PhD

This month, we hear from a member of Kayvan Najarian's lab, Mohsen! He joined the team earlier this year and is an expert in all things mathematics and models.

Want to perfect your proposal? Start with a </br> kick-off meeting

Want to perfect your proposal? Start with a
kick-off meeting

No matter your proposal size, scope, or budget amount, a kick-off meeting is designed to set the stage for the proposal team to pursue an opportunity. It brings together anybody and everybody involved in this one proposal to get on the same page.

AHA Researcher of the Week: Kayvan Najarian, PhD

AHA Researcher of the Week: Kayvan Najarian, PhD

Kayvan Najarian, PhD, an American Heart Association-supported researcher, is another example of the extraordinary things happening here at the University of Michigan thanks to AHA funding.

MCIRCC launches new Seminar Series with Dr. Steffen Leonhardt

MCIRCC launches new Seminar Series with Dr. Steffen Leonhardt

Dr. Steffen Leonhardt, Philips Endowed Chair of Medical Information Technology at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany, was in Ann Arbor on March 9 discussing nonobtrusive and noncontact monitoring techniques for medical applications.

Recapping the 2018 HIMSS Conference

Recapping the 2018 HIMSS Conference

MCIRCC's Data Science team recently headed to sunny Las Vegas to catch up on the latest and greatest in the health IT industry. Don't miss their top three takeaways from the week.

Highlights from the 2018 Massey TBI Grand Challenge

Highlights from the 2018 Massey TBI Grand Challenge

Earlier this month, MCIRCC hosted our third annual Massey TBI Grand Challenge. With a record-breaking attendance, thought-provoking presentations, and increased collaboration with the Dept. of Engineering, the event was a rousing success.

Welcoming Our Newest Associate Director: Kenn Oldham, PhD

Welcoming Our Newest Associate Director: Kenn Oldham, PhD

MCIRCC is thrilled to announce that Kenn Oldham, PhD, will be joining MCIRCC’s team of associate directors. Professor Oldham is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and has been an active MCIRCC member since it's inception.

Ashwin Belle: Data Science Superhero

Ashwin Belle: Data Science Superhero

Dr. Ashwin Belle is an analytics architect on the Data Science team at MCIRCC, one of the nation’s most innovative organizations in diagnosing, monitoring, and treating patients with critical illness or injury and a part of the University of Michigan’s Michigan Medicine Health System.

Mad Minute with Ken Spenser

Mad Minute with Ken Spenser

Are you applying for the Massey TBI Grand Challenge funding this year? If so, get to know our Commercialization Coach, Ken Spenser! Ken can help you navigate the challenging waters to get your idea to the bedside. He also knows a thing or two about fishing!

Just Breathe: New Device Diagnoses Lung Diseases Using Exhaled Breath

Just Breathe: New Device Diagnoses Lung Diseases Using Exhaled Breath

Breathalyzers have been used for decades to measure the amount of alcohol on breath, but what if they were able to detect illness? Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new point-of-care device that can diagnose life-threatening lung diseases using just a patient’s breath.

A Look Back at 2017

A Look Back at 2017

What an exciting year for MCIRCC and our members! From winning millions of dollars in funding to developing innovative solutions for our critical care patients, we have many achievements to highlight.