Infectious disease research has the potential for broad application because everyone, in every area of the world, is infected by microbes at some point in his or her life.
Microbes are simple organisms capable of rapid genetic mutation. Many evolve into new strains that resist available therapies. The ease of international travel and an increasing world population facilitate problems associated with rapid microbial evolution.
Clinicians at Mayo Clinic treat many patients with challenging infections. Investigators and clinicians collaborate to conduct clinical trials that provide patients with access to novel, experimental diagnostics and therapies for life-threatening infections. Investigations include emerging pathogens, novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, gene therapy, antimicrobial resistance, and counter-bioterrorism, such as the rapid test for anthrax.
Translational research is the hallmark of infectious disease research at Mayo Clinic. Our primary focus is to meet the needs of patients. Therefore, it is the clinical presentation that often drives research. It is not unusual for basic research discoveries to be immediately translated into a change in clinical approach. Research activities are closely integrated with both education and clinical practice.
The Division of Infectious Disease investigators conduct in vitro and in vivo studies of new antimicrobics, study novel patterns and mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance, track emerging pathogens, and develop unique antimicrobial therapies. Methods include culture, molecular techniques and animal models.