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The SUNY-Downstate Division of Infectious Diseases provides opportunities for clinical, epidemiological, and basic science research. The Division receives both Public and Private funding for its research activities and provides a supportive environment for fellows pursuing a research project. Fellows have been highly successful in presenting research findings at national meetings (typically IDWeek) and in being first-authors in peer-reviewed publications. Active research activities include:

SUNY Downstate HIV-related research

Principle Investigator: Jack Dehovitz

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The Special Treatment and Research program at SUNY Downstate is a participant in the NIAID Women’s Interagency HIV Study. The major aims of this study are to examine the natural history of HIV infection in women, and to investigate factors related to the rate and type of HIV disease progression. Our program also is a participant in the U.S. Public Health Services Center/SAMHSA Targeted Expansion Program for Substance Abuse Treatment and HIV/AIDS: The purpose of this project is to expand and enhance substance abuse treatment services in conjunction with HIV/AIDS services for high-risk substance abusing adults in Central Brooklyn, NY. The Division also is involved with the Fogarty International Center SUNY AIDS International Training Program: The overall goal of this program is to provide HIV epidemiological and clinical training to physicians and scientists from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, the Baltics, Estonia, Armenia, and Russia. 

SUNY Downstate Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory

image of wet gelThe projects in the research laboratory include 1) examining the epidemiology of problematic nosocomial pathogens and 2) investigating the mechanisms contributing to resistance in multi-drug resistant Gram-negative bacilli. A variety of laboratory procedures are performed, including fingerprinting of bacterial isolates, expression of important genes, and identification and characterization of beta-lactamases. Susceptibility testing of investigational novel agents is also performed. The goal is to understand the transmission of resistant strains and, with understanding of mechanisms, to identify potential new therapeutic regimens and target sites.

Recent peer-reviewed publications from this laboratory include (fellows’ names are bolded):

Gupta A, Malik S, Kaminski M, Landman D, Quale JM. In Vitro and In Vivo Activity of Amoxicillin-Clavulanate Combined with Ceftibuten or Cefpodoxime Against Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamase-Producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Microb Drug Resist. 2022 Apr;28(4):419-424. doi: 10.1089/mdr.2021.0025. PMID: 35451880.

Gupta A, Landman D, Quale J. Relationship of TonB-dependent receptors with susceptibility to cefiderocol in clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2022 Apr 27;77(5):1282-1285. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkac022. PMID: 35134942.

Malik S, Kaminski M, Landman D, Quale J. Cefiderocol Resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii: Roles of β-Lactamases, Siderophore Receptors, and Penicillin Binding Protein 3. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2020 Oct 20;64(11):e01221-20. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01221-20. PMID: 32868330; PMCID: PMC7577126.

Iregui A, Landman D, Quale J. Activity of Omadacycline and Other Tetracyclines Against Contemporary Gram-Negative Pathogens from New York City Hospitals. Microb Drug Resist. 2021 Feb;27(2):190-195. doi: 10.1089/mdr.2019.0423. Epub 2020 Jun 22. PMID: 32580619.

Iregui A, Khan Z, Landman D, Quale J. Activity of Cefiderocol Against EnterobacteralesPseudomonas aeruginosa, and Acinetobacter baumannii Endemic to Medical Centers in New York City. Microb Drug Resist. 2020 Jul;26(7):722-726. doi: 10.1089/mdr.2019.0298. Epub 2020 Feb 7. PMID: 32031915; PMCID: PMC7368386.

SUNY Downstate Kings County Hospital Center STI Research Center

Principle Investigators: Michael Augenbraun and Marie Abdallah

Kings County Hospital Center is home to the only hospital based STI Clinics in NYC. In over thirty years of operation, the clinic has served as a primary site for many studies of the natural history of the various STIs, behavioral and social determinants of disease acquisition, diagnosis and treatment of these conditions and their interactions with HIV infection. Collaborations with the CDC, the NYC-DOHMH and the biomedical industry have been common.

Research and Scholarly Activities at New York City Health and Hospitals/Kings County

The core research group at Kings County includes Drs. Marie Abdallah, Jennifer Lee, Subin Sunny, and John Quale. Closely associated partners in our group include Briana Episcopia (NYC H+H/Kings County) and Mary Fornek (NYC H+H/Central Office), who are our leaders in Infection Prevention. Our interests include a variety of topics, including STIs/HIV, comparison of therapeutic modalities for infectious diseases, and trends in healthcare-reportable infections. Recent peer-reviewed publications by this group include (fellows’ names are bolded):

Sunny S, Samaroo-Campbell J, Abdallah M, Luka A, Quale J. Is remdesivir safe in patients with renal impairment? Experience at a large tertiary urban medical center. Infection. 2023 Feb;51(1):247-252. doi: 10.1007/s15010-022-01850-7. Epub 2022 May 26. PMID: 35616879; PMCID: PMC9132747.

Aslam S, Asrat H, Liang R, Qiu W, Sunny S, Maro A, Abdallah M, Fornek M, Episcopia B, Quale J. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: Trends and distinguishing characteristics among patients in a healthcare system in New York City. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2022 Sep 9:1-3. doi: 10.1017/ice.2022.238. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36082528.

Maro A, Asrat H, Qiu W, Liang R, Sunny S, Aslam S, Abdallah M, Fornek M, Episcopia B, Quale J. Trends in Clostridioides difficile infection across a public health hospital system in New York City 2019-2021: A cautionary note. Am J Infect Control. 2022 Dec;50(12):1389-1391. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2022.04.015. Epub 2022 May 17. PMID: 35569616.

Samaroo-Campbell J, Qiu W, Asrat H, Abdallah M, Fornek M, Episcopia B, Quale J. The initial and lingering impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on catheter-associated infections in a large healthcare system in New York City. Antimicrob Steward Healthc Epidemiol. 2022 May 4;2(1):e77. doi: 10.1017/ash.2022.223. PMID: 36483353; PMCID: PMC9726501.

Episcopia B, Gupta A, Fornek M, Kaminski M, Malik S, Sunny S, Landman D, Xavier G, Quale J. Trends in Healthcare Facility-Onset Clostridioides difficile Infection and the Impact of Testing Schemes in an Acute Care Hospital System in New York City, 2016-2019. Am J Infect Control. 2021 Oct;49(10):1262-1266. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2021.03.003. Epub 2021 Mar 11. PMID: 33716096.

Sunny S, Episcopia B, Boudourakis L, Xavier G, Quale J. Effectiveness of Fluconazole Prophylaxis in a Targeted High-Risk Group in a Surgical Intensive Care Unit. Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2021 Sep;22(7):738-740. doi: 10.1089/sur.2020.380. Epub 2021 Jan 25. PMID: 33493424.

Kaminski MA, Episcopia B, Malik S, Fornek M, Landman D, Xavier G, Quale J. Trends in central-line-associated bloodstream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections in a large acute-care hospital system in New York City, 2016-2019. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2021 Jul;42(7):842-846. doi: 10.1017/ice.2020.1293. Epub 2020 Nov 19. PMID: 33208201.

Kaminski MA, Sunny S, Balabayova K, Kaur A, Gupta A, Abdallah M, Quale J. Tocilizumab therapy for COVID-19: A comparison of subcutaneous and intravenous therapies. Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Dec;101:59-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.09.1447. Epub 2020 Sep 28. PMID: 33002613; PMCID: PMC7521212.

Research Programs at the Brooklyn Campus, Harborview VA Hospital

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Research opportunities involving the VA healthcare system include investigations involving:

  • Prevalence of stronglyloides exposure among immunocompromised patients at the VA hospital
  • Prospective evaluation on efficacy of upgraded isolation precautions for patients with colonization with highly resistant Gram-negative pathogens
  • 10-year retrospective review of post-surgical complications among HIV/AIDS patients
  • 5-year retrospective review of blood stream infections among patients with ESRD on HD
  • 10-year retrospective review of efavirenz safety among VA hospital patients with diagnosis of PTSD