The research interests of Bobbi S. Pritt, M.D., are in clinical parasitology, ectoparasite-borne diseases, emerging pathogens, trainee education and appropriate test utilization.
As director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory, Dr. Pritt has coordinated the development of a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for Plasmodium knowlesi and other human Plasmodium species, and a microsporidia assay for major human pathogenic species.
Most recently, Dr. Pritt has directed multiple research efforts to characterize a novel Ehrlichia muris-like bacterium that infects humans in the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Pritt's work has resulted in the implementation of rapid and highly sensitive molecular tests for important human pathogens, including malaria, influenza and microsporidiosis. Malaria, in particular, is a potentially fatal disease and leading cause of infant mortality worldwide. In the U.S., malaria is most commonly seen in individuals who have traveled to or emigrated from endemic areas such as parts of Africa, Asia and South America.
Dr. Pritt also played a key role in discovering and describing a new tick-borne Ehrlichia bacterium that infects humans in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has also detected the new, yet-to-be-named bacterium in Ixodes scapularis (deer) ticks and white-footed mice — the vector and reservoir host of Lyme disease, respectively.