The Bailey Lab is working on developing analysis tools. Can you tell us a little bit about that project?
The overarching focus of our group is developing new analytical methodologies to enable individualized disease management. Major efforts at present are the development of low cost, array-based sensors for point-of-care biomarker diagnostics, and microfluidic devices that can enable rapid epigenomic analyses. Both of these technologies have broad applications within critical care. We are particularly interested in interfacing our high information content-analytical methods with robust informatics tools that, together with other clincial data streams, can better enable real-time decision making.
How do you see those tools directly impacting critical care in the future?
It is becoming increasingly clear that inflammation is a major driver in many human illnesses and disease, and inflammation is ubiquitous within the critical care setting. We are applying our array-based biomarker detection technology to the longitudinal profiling of biochemical signatures of inflammation that can help establish individualized patient trajectories. Essentially, we are trying to eavesdrop on the immune system to see whether a patient's condition is improving or worsensing before it might be evident using more conventional metrics. On the epigenomic front, we are interesting in deploying these tools to help identify who might benefit most from certain therapeutic strategies that can modify or reset immune function, which also has implications in stratifying patients that are at elevated risk of future complications after they leave the critical care setting.
Your lab uses an interdisciplinary approach to the biomolecular sciences. How is that vital to your success?
I have broad scientific interests, enjoy solving new problems, and can have a relatively short attention span. So in the course of a day (or lying awake in the middle of the night) my thoughts often drift anywhere between applied physics and immunology. Most of my group's successes have resulted from being able to recognize needs in one discipline that can be solved by adapting technologies from seemingly disparate fields. Interdisciplinary thinking is essential in seeing those opportunities.
Do you have any New Year's Resolutions you'd like to share with us?
I just moved to UM in July of 2016 after spending a decade on the faculty at Illinois. So, I'm looking forward to learning more about the exciting research collaborations and opportunities at Michigan--especially those involving MCIRCC.