Research in the Division of Infectious Diseases

The Infectious Diseases Division consists of the following faculty: Melissa Appleton, MD, Mark Brint, MD, Kerry Cleveland, MD, Cathy Corbett, MD, Harry Courtney, Ph.D., James Dale, MD, James Fleckenstein, MD, Michael Gelfand, MD, David Hasty, Ph.D., John Norwood, MD, Seema Patel, MD, and Ellen Whitnack, MD. The active research programs are described below:

Melissa Appleton, MD

Dr. Appleton is the Director of the Adult Special Care Clinic (HIV Clinic) at the MedPlex. She directs clinical research focused on the efficacy of antiretroviral agents and the effectiveness of prophylactic and therapeutic agents for AIDS-related infections. Large clinical trials are integrated fully into the practice environment in the clinic, which is staffed by clinical research specialists in addition to a full array of multidisciplinary health professionals.

Kerry Cleveland, MD

Dr. Cleveland is the Director of Hospital Epidemiology at the Med and also conducts clinical research projects dealing with antimicrobials in hospitalized patients and HIV therapeutic and prophylactic agents.

Harry Courtney, Ph.D.

Dr. Courtney is an integral part of the bacterial pathogenesis research group of the Division. He is an independently funded investigator whose interests are in defining the molecular pathogenesis of group A streptococcal infections. Most recently he has begun studies to unravel the role of serum opacity factor in the pathogenesis of streptococcal infections, particularly those that may trigger acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis.

James Dale, MD

Dr. Dale is the Chief of Infectious Diseases and maintains an active research laboratory at the VA Medical Center. His research activities are directed at understanding the basic mechanisms of group A streptococcal infections and their complications. This includes structure/function studies of streptococcal virulence determinants, normal and abnormal host immune responses to streptococcal antigens, the pathogenesis of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic carditis, and the development of vaccines that will prevent group A streptococcal infections.

James Fleckenstein, MD

Dr. Fleckenstein directs an active research program that investigates the mechanisms of enterotoxigenic E. coli infections. He uses state of the art molecular techniques to determine how the bacteria attach to and interact with enterocytes and also how the organisms may respond to environmental signals to control the release of toxins.

Michael Gelfand, MD

Dr. Gelfand directs the clinical infectious diseases program at the Methodist University Hospital and is involved in clinical research focusing on antibiotic trials and infections in immunocompromised hosts, including solid organ transplant recipients and neutropenic cancer patients.

David Hasty, Ph.D.

Dr. Hasty has his primary appointment in the Department of Anatomy but his research laboratory is based with others in the bacterial pathogenesis group at the VAMC. He has interests in the pathogenesis of group A streptococcal infections and of uropathogenic E. coli infections. The molecular mechanisms of attachment of E. coli to uroepithelial cells are investigated using molecular genetic techniques and animal models of infection.

Seema Patel, MD

Dr. Patel is a junior faculty member working in the laboratory of Dr. Fleckenstein. Her research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms of ETEC pathogenesis and how the organisms bind to and invade enterocytes and deliver their toxins.