Dr. Barbara Kazmierczak, newly named as the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation M.D.-Ph.D. Program Director, focuses her research on bacterial and host factors that allow opportunistic infections to occur.
In her laboratory, Kazmierczak studies how environmental or commensal organisms — bacteria with which we come into daily contact — can become pathogens capable of causing severe, life-threatening infections. To answer this question, she studies the bacterial determinants that allow the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa to move between soil and water reservoirs to human patients, as well as the host immune responses that usually keep it in check. Recent projects also address strategies to discover new and re-purpose old antibiotics against this multidrug-resistant pathogen.
The Yale professor also studies the composition of the bacteria that reside in the human gut — the “gastrointestinal microbiome” — and the effect these bacteria have on the development and progression of the genetic disease Cystic Fibrosis.
Kazmierczak received her Ph.D. from Rockefeller University and her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. She completed an internal medicine residency and infectious diseases fellowship training at the University of California-San Francisco, and joined the Yale faculty in 2001. In addition to her new appointment, she also serves as a professor of medicine (infectious diseases) and microbial pathogenesis.
Kazmierczak has been recognized as a Burroughs-Wellcome Fund Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases, a Donaghue Investigator, and a Hellman Family Fellow. She is a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Academy of Microbiology.