Infectious Diseases: Clostridium difficile infection

Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) causes antibiotic associated diarrhea and pseudomemberous colitis, mostly in the elderly and in hospitalized patients. The main cause of pathology is colonic expression of two large glucosylating toxins, TcdA and TcdB. Research in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Global Health aims to understand the mechanisms of toxin-mediated inflammation and to investigate the role of each toxin in the pathogenesis of C. difficile-associated diseases. The Department is developing CDI models in the gnotobiotic pig model transplanted with the human microbiome and generating recombinant CDI vaccines. In addition, we are evaluating antimicrobial agents and immune based therapies, including the Merck human monoclonal antibodies and hyperimmune bovine colostrum, to treat and/or prevent CDI disease. Finally, we are developing recombinant antitoxin therapies for the treatment of CDI using our technology which is described in more detail on the Recombinant Antitoxins page.