Nancy L. Wengenack, Ph.D., works to develop novel, rapid molecular methods for the diagnosis of infections caused by mycobacteria and fungi.
Her team makes use of molecular techniques, such as rapid-cycle real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA sequencing, nucleic acid hybridization probes and mass spectrometry. They also develop methods for the detection of drug resistance markers in mycobacteria and fungi.
Dr. Wengenack's work has been funded by the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, Trek Diagnostics, bioMerieux, Advanced Analytical, and Siemens Healthcare.
Dr. Wengenack is focused on developing novel, rapid molecular methods for diagnosing infections caused by:
- Mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis
- Fungi, such as Pneumocystis jiroveci, Coccidioides immitis, Histoplasma capsulatum and Blastomyces dermatitidis
Significance to patient care
The work conducted by Dr. Wengenack's team improves care for patients by significantly reducing the time required for the accurate identification and drug susceptibility testing of mycobacteria and fungi.
Rapid identification allows the physician to select the most effective drug with which to treat the infection, leading to reduced hospital stays and improved outcomes for patients.