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Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases


The Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID) supports research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious diseases caused by virtually all infectious agents, except HIV. DMID supports a broad spectrum of research from basic molecular structure, microbial physiology and pathogenesis, to the development of new and improved vaccines and therapeutics. DMID also supports medical diagnostics research, which is defined as research to improve the quality of patient assessment and care that would result in the implementation of appropriate therapeutic or preventive measures. DMID does not support research directed at decontamination or the development of environmentally oriented detectors, whose primary purpose is the identification of specific agents in the environment. Note that some of the organisms and toxins listed below are considered NIAID priority pathogens or toxins for biodefense and emerging infectious disease research.

Director: Dr. Carole Heilman



A. Bacteriology and Mycology Branch. The branch oversees research on medical mycology, hospital infections (including Acinetobacter, Klebsiella, Serratia, Legionella, Pseudomonas, Aeromonas, Enterobacter, Proteus, non-enteric E. coli, actinomycetes and others), staphylococci, enterococci, bacterial zoonoses (plague, anthrax, tularemia, glanders, melioidosis, Lyme disease, rickettsial diseases, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and Q fever), and leptospirosis. Research is encouraged in the following general areas: (1) product vaccines, adjuvants, therapeutics and diagnostics (including target identification and characterization, device or apparatus development, novel delivery, and preclinical evaluation); (2) products to combat antibacterial and antifungal drug resistance; (3) applied proteomics and genomics; (4) host-pathogen interactions, including pathogenesis and host response; (5) genetics, molecular, and cell biology; (6) microbial structure and function; and (7) vector-pathogen interactions or disease transmission to humans via arthropod vectors. Research in the following areas is of particular interest to the branch, but research on all of the above is welcome:

? Vaccines, therapeutics, and medical diagnostics for hospital infections

? Adjunctive therapies to combat antimicrobial resistance

  • Diagnostics for aspergillosis

? Novel approaches for the diagnosis of Lyme disease

Contact: Dr. Alec Ritchie

301-402-8643, Fax: 301-402-2508


B. Enteric and Hepatic Diseases Branch. Special emphasis areas include vaccines against hepatitis C virus; antimicrobials and antivirals that focus on novel targets such as host-pathogen interactions to combat the development of resistance; vaccines and therapies for botulinum neurotoxins, especially therapies that that target toxins once they enter cells; therapies and diagnostics for Clostridium difficile that include recurrent disease issues; development of a simple, rapid point-of-care diagnostic tool for the simultaneous identification of multiple diarrheal pathogens that includes their antibiotic resistance profiles; pediatric vaccines to prevent the major worldwide causes of diarrhea; more stable vaccines and improved formulation methods; and novel therapeutics for chronic hepatitis B and C.

Research areas of the Branch include the following organisms and diseases: astrovirus, Bacteroides spp., Campylobacter spp., enteric Clostridia spp. including botulinum neurotoxins, commensals and normal flora, pathogenic Escherichia coli, gastroduodenal disease, gastroenteritis, Helicobacter spp., Listeria spp., Noroviruses including Norwalk, ricin toxin, rotaviruses, Salmonella serovars, Shigella spp., Staphylococcus enterotoxin B, Vibrio spp. enteric Yersinia spp., hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D, and E, as well as cholera, diarrhea, enterotoxins, gastroenteritis, gastroduodenal disease and ulcers, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Program Contact: Dr. Marian Wachtel

301-451-3754, Fax: 301-402-1456


C. Parasitology and International Programs Branch. Research areas: (1) protozoan infections, including amebiasis, cryptosporidiosis, cyclosporiasis, giardiasis, leishmaniasis, malaria, trypanosomiasis, toxoplasmosis; helminth infections, including cysticercosis, echinococcosis, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, others (e.g., roundworms, tapeworms, and flukes); invertebrate vectors/ectoparasites, black flies, sandflies, tsetse flies, mosquitoes, ticks, snails, mites; (2) parasite biology (genetics, genomics, physiology, molecular biology, and biochemistry); (3) protective immunity, immunopathogenesis, evasion of host responses; (4) clinical, epidemiologic, and natural history studies of parasitic diseases; (5) research and development of vaccines, drugs, immunotherapeutics, and medical diagnostics, and (6) vector biology and management; mechanisms of pathogen transmission.

Chief: Dr. Lee Hall

301-496-2544, Fax: 301-402-0659


D. Respiratory Diseases Branch. Research areas: (1) viral respiratory diseases, including those caused by: human coronaviruses (including SARS), influenza viruses, and paramyxoviruses (including parainfluenza viruses and respiratory syncytial virus); (2) bacterial respiratory infections, including those caused by Moraxella catarrhalis (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Pseudomonas aeruginosa andBurkholderia cepacia (associated with cystic fibrosis), Corynebacterium diphtheriae (diphtheria), groups A and B streptococci,Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria meningitidis, Bordetella pertussis (pertussis), Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, Klebsiella pneumoniae and community acquired pneumonia; (3) acute otitis media; (4) mycobacterial diseases, including those caused by: M. tuberculosis (tuberculosis), extensively- and multi-drug resistant M. tuberculosis, M. leprae (leprosy), and M. ulcerans (Buruli ulcer) and other non-tuberculous mycobacterial diseases. Areas of emphasis include: development of new antibiotics with novel mechanisms of action, improved therapeutics for viral and bacterial respiratory diseases including immunotherapeutics, new or improved vaccines (with and without adjuvants), improved and more rapid multiplex point-of-care diagnostic tests or other screening tools that can detect infection prior to active disease and identify drug resistance.

Contact: Dr. Gail Jacobs

301-496-5305, Fax: 301-496-8030


E. Sexually Transmitted Infections Branch. Areas of emphasis include the development of medical diagnostics including better and more rapid multiplex point of care tests and other screening or novel delivery systems for diagnostic tools, topical microbicides, vaccines and drugs for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other reproductive tract syndromes, such as bacterial vaginosis; molecular immunology; vaginal ecology and immunology; epidemiologic and behavioral research including strategies to reduce transmission of STIs; genomics and proteomics of sexually transmitted pathogens; adolescents and STIs; STIs and medically underserved populations and minority groups; STIs and infertility and adverse outcomes of pregnancy; role of STIs in HIV transmission; role of HIV in altering the natural history of STIs; and other sequellae of STIs.

Contact: Elizabeth Rogers

301-451-3742, Fax: 301-480-3617


F. Virology Branch. Areas of emphasis for SBIR/STTR applications include:1) vaccine development; 2) viral vectors; 3) structure and function of viruses and viral proteins as targets for therapeutic interventions or diagnostics; 4) the development and validations of assays for disease diagnosis and to measure response to therapy; 5) the development and preclinical testing of immunotherapeutic and antiviral drugs for acute and chronic viral illnesses; 6) approaches to identify antiviral targets and agents; 7) chemical design and synthesis of novel antiviral agents; 8) preclinical antiviral evaluations including in vitro screening and prophylactic or therapeutic antiviral evaluations of human viral infections in animal models; 9) the development of rapid medical diagnostic systems.

The Virology Branch focuses on the following: acute viral infections (including Nipah and Hendra viruses), arthropod-borne and rodent-borne viral diseases (including Dengue, West Nile, Japanese encephalitis, Chikungunya, yellow fever, hantavirus, etc.), viral hemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Lassa fever, etc.), measles, polio, coxsackie virus, enterovirus 71 and other enteroviruses, poxviruses, rabies, and rubella. The Virology Branch also focuses on the following persistent viral diseases and viruses: adenoviruses, BK virus, bornaviruses, coronaviruses, herpesviruses, human T-lymphotrophic virus, JC virus, human papillomaviruses, parvoviruses, and prion diseases. Applications targeting the development of therapies, immunotherapies, vaccines and diagnostics for any of these infections are sought. The Virology Branch does not support applications covering environmental detection and decontamination.

Contact: Dr. Ramya Natarajan

301-594-1586, Fax: 301-402-0659


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