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Department of Infectious Diseases

Chair: Elaine I. Tuomanen, MD


Departmental Focus

The goal of the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to study devastating diseases of childhood through a comprehensive approach including basic science research, translational trials, and bedside care.

Among the top infectious causes of death worldwide are respiratory diseases and HIV/AIDS. The Department of Infectious Diseases seeks to focus on the pathogenesis of these infections with a breadth of commitment that extends from the research bench to the bedside. Investigations take place at four levels: manipulation of genes is expected to lead to phenotypes in cell culture systems that can be modeled in animal studies. Therapeutic candidates in the form of antimicrobials, vaccines, or adjunctive therapies are further pursued in clinical trials in children.

Investigations of infections in immunocompromised children aim at development of a risk prediction tool using inflammatory markers and molecular diagnostic assays to allow risk-stratified management approaches in febrile neutropenic children with cancer. The immune response of this high-risk population to childhood vaccines is also under study.

Study of respiratory pathogens includes investigations on the molecular pathogenesis of invasion and inflammation induced by the pneumococcus, synergistic interactions between pneumococcus and influenza, and elucidation of the natural history of influenza and parainfluenza viruses, including pandemic influenza. The influenza program leads the US effort against pandemic influenza and collaborates with the World Health Organization in tracking emergence of new influenza strains. The Kmart St. Jude Life Center houses the nationally recognized comprehensive, clinical care and research program for HIV infected children and adolescents.  Novel vaccine approaches for parainfluenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza viruses, and pneumococcus are under development.

Contact Us

Department of Infectious Diseases
St Jude Children's Research Hospital
MS 320, Room E8057
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105-3678

Phone: (901) 595-3114
Fax: (901) 595-3099

Preferred contact method: email