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Infectious Diseases - Research

Overview and Faculty Research Interests


The Section of Infectious Diseases has an active basic and translational research program with more than five million dollars of federal fundiRng yearly. The Section has over 20 full-time faculty engaged in a broad range of research, including respiratory viral pathogens, enteric viral diseases, hospital epidemiology, international health, HIV, TB, Kawasaki disease, Staph toxin disease, and vaccine-preventable diseases. We participate in multiple national clinical trials of antiviral agents, antiretroviral medications, and vaccines.


Lisa Abuogi, MD, conducts clinical and operational research on pediatric HIV, TB, and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV primarily in Kenya.

Mark Abzug, MD, directs clinical research on patients with viral infections, infections in immune-compromised patients, and chronic sinusitis. He is involved in several national collaborative clinical trials of antiviral therapies and in studies evaluating complications of disease in HIV-infected children.

Marsha Anderson, MD, performs clinical and epidemiologic research on Kawasaki disease. She is also involved in medical education research.

Edwin Asturias, MD, conducts clinical and epidemiological research on the efficacy and safety of vaccines for children in developing countries, especially dengue, polio and RSV vaccines. He has been a member of the Global Advisory Committee for Vaccine Safety at WHO, and an active participant in several international collaborative networks for vaccine issues and infectious diseases in children.

Emily Barr, PNP, CNM, has a research focus on adherence to HIV medications, long-term effects of antiretroviral exposure, prevention of perinatal transmission of HIV, HIV in pregnancy, and international HIV treatment trials, and inter-country adoption of HIV positive children.

Donna Curtis, MD, MPH, conducts research on the immune response to influenza vaccines in immunocompromised children and on viral infections in transplant patients. She also studies the epidemiology of influenza virus in hospitalized children and influenza vaccine effectiveness in hospitalized children.

Sam Dominguez, MD, PhD, research focuses on the epidemiology, disease associations, and pathophysiology of newly discovered human and bat coronaviruses, and he is interested in emerging pathogens. He also pursues laboratory and clinical studies on the etiology and epidemiology of Kawasaki disease, pediatric respiratory viral infections, and hospital associated infections. He also serves as the Children's Hospital Colorado’s microbial epidemiologist and is involved in outbreak investigation and conducts clinical and outcome based studies on new microbiology based diagnostics.

Jennifer Dunn, MS, FNP-BC, has a research focus on pediatric HIV disease and treatments as well as adolescent HIV and maternal-to-child transmission of HIV.

CAPT Marc Fischer, MD, MPH, is the Chief of the Surveillance and Epidemiology Activity in the Arboviral Diseases Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Fort Collins, Colorado. Current activities and research interests include surveillance and epidemiology of Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, and other arboviral diseases, and development and implementation of arboviral vaccines.

James Gaensbauer, MD, MScPH, has research interests in global health, particularly in the interplay between intestinal pathogens, mucosal immunity and vaccine responses. Teaching and clinical interests include improving resource utilization, increasing reliance on clinical judgment and promoting pediatric practice built on local and literature-based evidence.

Heather Heizer, MPAS, PA-C, manages the outpatient Infectious Diseases Clinic at The Children’s Hospital. She is interested in numerous aspects of infectious diseases and currently has clinics that include PICC line/bone and joint infections as well as a clinic dedicated to MRSA and to Kawasaki disease. She currently is also involved in developing studies with other faculty members in the department to examine the natural history and therapy of MRSA.

Shannon L. Hughes, MMS, PA-C, RD, research interests include MRSA, bone and joint infections, recurrent fevers, and congenital infections including CMV and HSV. She is collaborating with other faculty members to develop studies looking at adverse drug events in children in the outpatient ID clinic.

Katherine Lee, PhD, is focused on identifying host factors important to varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection and pathogenesis. She is also interested in the development of an in vitro model based on induced pluripotent stem cells to study VZV latency and reactivation.

Myron Levin, MD, is studying the immune response to herpes virus infections and methods of treating and preventing such infections, including antiviral therapy and active immunization. He does basic research on the nature of latency of herpes viruses in human neurons. A vaccine to prevent shingles in elderly individuals has been developed and licensed through his clinical research, and further investigations of this vaccine are in progress. Additional vaccine trials of common childhood vaccines are underway in HIV-infected children in resource-poor countries.

Shaobing Li, PhD, focuses on molecular diagnosis for viral infections.

Robin McEvoy, PhD, participates in research evaluating the effects of HIV infection and antiretroviral treatment on the cognitive, language, neurological, psychological development of infants, children, and teens infected or exposed to HIV.

Elizabeth McFarland, MD, is studying the maturation of immunity in healthy, HIV-exposed uninfected, and HIV-infected infants, immune responses to HIV vaccines, the role of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of HIV infection, pediatric and perinatal clinical trials of vaccines, antiretroviral therapy, and immune-based therapy, outcomes of infants born to HIV infected mothers, and complications of HIV and treatment. She oversees multi-centered clinical trials at our site and collaborates on HIV-related global health research.

Kevin Messacar, MD, focuses on the implementation of emerging molecular diagnostic technologies in the clinical setting to impact the clinical outcomes and healthcare costs of hospitalized children.

Kacey Navarro, FNP, has a research focus on pediatric HIV disease and treatments as well as adolescent HIV and maternal-to-child transmission of HIV.

Ann-Christine Nyquist, MD, MSPH, serves as Medical Director for Infection Prevention and Control and Occupational Health at Children's Hospital Colorado. Her research focus includes hospital epidemiology and infection control and occupational health.

Sean O'Leary, MD, MPH, has research interests that include immunization delivery, vaccine safety, and vaccine hesitancy.

Sarah Parker, MD, is director of the fellowship program and medical director of the antimicrobial stewardship program. Her research interests are antimicrobial stewardship, antimicrobial dosing in pediatrics, quality improvement, and orthopedic infections.

Suzanne Paul, MSN, RN, FNP-C, has a research focus on pediatric HIV disease and treatments as well as adolescent HIV and maternal-to-child transmission of HIV.

Kimberly Pierce, DNP, CPNP, has research interests that include use of PrEP in YMSM populations, medication adherence issues with youth living with HIV and barriers to care for youth of color living with HIV.

Suchitra Rao, MB, BS, studies the epidemiology of influenza and other respiratory viruses, and conducts research on increasing influenza vaccination rates.

Daniel Reirden, MD, has current research interests of HIV therapy, co-morbidities, and prevention in adolescents and young adults.

Eric A. F. Simões, MB, BS, DCH, MD, studies the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and prevention of the short- and long-term effects of respiratory tract infections in children. His focus is on pneumococcal infections, respiratory syncytial virus and influenza virus infections, both domestically and in developing countries. He currently has projects in Kenya, South Africa, India and Indonesia.

Wayne Sullender, MD, is interested in respiratory infections of children, particularly in developing countries. His research has included respiratory syncytial virus and influenza virus infections among children in India and he is part of a trial of influenza vaccine given to children in India.

James Todd, MD, has research interests in diagnostic microbiology, staphylococcal and streptococcal infections, data-driven hospital and community epidemiology, and outcomes.

Adriana Weinberg, MD, is studying cellular and humoral immune responses to microbial organisms and vaccines in severely to mildly immune compromised hosts including HIV+, transplant recipients, elderly, neonates and pregnant women; immune correlates with protection against viral infections; regulation of immune responses; and the effect of inflammation and of hormonal contraceptives on immune responses.