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Infectious Disease

Infectious Disease Program


The mission of the Infectious Disease Signature Program is to control the spread and severity of infectious diseases through the creation and dissemination of knowledge, practices and products. The strategy uses multidisciplinary active networks in high impact programmatic areas to implement the mission. These programmatic areas, grounded in the College of Veterinary Medicine, represent a key component of a larger collaborative network that includes faculty, staff and students in the colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Pharmacy, Arts and Sciences, and Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, in addition to the infectious disease community of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The overall faculty lead for the Infectious Disease Signature program is Dr. Michael Oglesbee, professor of virology in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences who also leads the university-level Infectious Disease Institute.


Programmatic areas and faculty leadership

1) Antimicrobial Resistance  

Faculty are part of an integrated campus-wide effort to understand antimicrobial use and resistance, and to implement meaningful guidelines for antimicrobial stewardship and resistance surveillance to be applied by all colleges at The Ohio State University with clinical or related activities, supported by both clinical and basic research and a standardized curriculum.  Genomic characterization of bacterial isolates is a foundation for understanding resistance mechanisms, drug discovery, and alternatives to the use of antibiotics. Activities are aligned with the five specific goals for the National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic Resistance, and coordinated by an Antimicrobial Stewardship Faculty Leadership group that is led by Dr. Tom Wittum, professor of epidemiology and faculty lead for this programmatic area. 

2) Viruses and Emerging Pathogens

The majority of emerging and re-emerging viral pathogens are RNA viruses, representing significant threats to both human and animal health. This program area builds upon strengths of the university Center for Retrovirus Research (CRR) that is based in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Food Animal Health Research Program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Pathogenesis and immunity to infections by retroviruses and other RNA viral pathogens, particularly those of the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems, are major focus areas, with goals of developing novel antiviral treatment strategies and vaccines. The programmatic area is supported by seminar series through the CRR, Viruses and Emerging Pathogens, and the Ohio Virology Association. Faculty leadership is provided by Drs. Shan-Lu Liu, professor of virology in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, and Linda Saif, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and Food Animal Health Research Program.

3) Host Defense and Microbial Biology

The cell, tissue and physiologic responses to infection, basic determinants of immunity, and the role of microbiomes in host defense and mucosal immunity is the focus of this programmatic area, emphasizing the host perspective on antimicrobial treatment and prevention strategies. Research efforts are synergistic with programmatic areas of (1) Antimicrobial Resistance, and (2) Viruses and Emerging Pathogens. Research in cell biology has been central to studies of viral and bacterial pathogenesis, including work in the Ehrlichia Research Laboratory. Faculty leadership for this programmatic area is provided by Dr. Prosper Boyaka, professor of immunology and faculty lead for the university Mucosal Immunology and Microbiome Interest Group. 

4) Ecology, Epidemiology, and Population Health

Control of infectious diseases requires an understanding of disease ecology – the relationships between animal and human hosts, their pathogens and the surrounding environment. This programmatic area is focused upon infectious disease ecology and epidemiology which includes the studies of emerging and zoonotic diseases, environmental microbiology, and transmission of pathogenic bacteria through the food chain (i.e. food safety). These areas are synergistic with programmatic areas of (1) Antimicrobial Resistance Mechanisms, and (2) Pathobiology, Treatment and Prevention of Virus Infection. Support is provided by the Animal Influenza Ecology and Epidemiology Research Program, the Disease Ecology and Computer Modeling Laboratory, and the Infectious Diseases Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory. The area is led by Dr. Rebecca Garabed, associate professor, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.