The University of Kansas Medical Center Division of Infectious Diseases has been engaged in bench-to-bedside research for more than 50 years, since Dr. Chien Liu - widely recognized as one of the physician scientists who helped discover the etiology of primary atypical pneumonia - founded our division in 1958. Our Infectious Diseases research program remains dedicated to advancing scientific progress and innovation.
The division maintains an active antimicrobial therapeutic clinical trials program in both early and late phase studies. Specific areas of investigation include HIV-1, C. difficile and infections in immunocompromised hosts and transplant recipients. We work collaboratively with other departments across the institution with the goal of bringing cutting edge therapy to our center. While some studies are NIH supported others are multi-center studies of new agents or approaches that are being sponsored by industry. Dr. Lisa Clough leads these efforts.
This program, led by Dr. Stephen Waller, maintains close collaboration with the Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering at KU-Lawrence. Thus far, efforts have focused on a variety of innovations that seek to prevent and treat infectious complications. A number of these projects have led to the issuance of patents.
Diagnostic testing is at the heart of medicine but for many conditions, adequate diagnostic techniques do not exist. The division, led by Dr. Nathan Bahr, is actively engaged in research to improve the diagnosis of TB meningitis and other CNS infections. Histoplasmosis, a major fungal infection in Kansas and throughout the Midwest is another area of focus. We strive to find techniques to improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis in an effort to improve disease outcomes.
The division is engaged in clinical and translational research in global health. This is primarily centered around Dr. Bahr's collaborations with the University of Minnesota and Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda related to cryptococcal meningitis and TB meningitis. In addition, Dr. Bahr continues to engage in new collaborative research with partners around the world in areas where these conditions cause the most harm.
Dr. Kellie Wark works closely with the Kansas Department of Health with a focus on antimicrobial stewardship. Thus far, her work has focused on state and regional efforts to improve and expand antibiotic stewardship programs in critical access hospitals, nursing and other long-term facilities and study the effectiveness of these interventions. Antibiotic prescribing in ambulatory settings including emergency departments and urgent care have been major areas of focus as have embracing a One Health multidisciplinary approach to infectious diseases in conjunction with KDHE and Kansas State veterinarians.
The Division of Infectious Diseases aims to prepare learners in the practice of Infectious Diseases, but also aspires to mentor medical students, residents, and fellows in research endeavors, working on projects in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, medical education and a multitude of additional investigator-initiated proposals.
Please see individual faculty bios to read more about research interests and completed work.
The Infectious Diseases Division has an annual award honoring Chien Liu, M.D., a groundbreaking virologist widely recognized as one of the physician-scientists who helped discover the etiology of primary atypical or "walking pneumonia." He was a consummate teacher and physician who was part of the KU faculty from 1958 until his retirement in 1991.
The Infectious Diseases Division also offers the Dr. Curtis J. FitzSimmons Summer Research Fellowship for medical students in their first or second years who are interested in pursuing ID research topics with a faculty mentor. The fellowship, made possible by a gift from the FitzSimmons Family, includes a cash award and the opportunity to apply for credit.
The Halsey Infectious Disease & Tropical Medicine Training Award provides support to cover travel and lodging expenses for a fourth-year medical student participating in an International Educational Experience in the area of infectious disease and/or tropical medicine. Priority will be given to an applicant completing the International Educational Experience in Africa or South America.