Infectious Diseases Research

The Division of Infectious Diseases is involved in extensive research in a multitude of fields. Our focus areas range from basic science research in microbial pathogenesis to clinical care delivery systems for the underserved.

Infectious Diseases collaborates extensively with other departments in the University of New Mexico including the Autophagy, Inflammation and Metabolism Center and the Center for Global Health. These partnerships provide extensive opportunities for faculty and trainees to pursue research in a variety of areas.

Current Research Areas

The Division of Infectious Diseases collaborates with Project ECHO in the treatment of many infectious disease states including hepatitis C, HIV and tuberculosis. The division also collaborates extensively with the Division of Epidemiology to investigate healthcare delivery systems for diseases such as Hepatitis C.

  • Michelle Landiorio, MD, runs the New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center. Her work focuses on HIV in adolescents and young adults.
  • Renee Mercier, PharmD, researches ​drug interactions in patients living with HIV as well as the role of clinical pharmacists in delivering chemoprophylaxis for HIV prevention (PrEP). 
  • Kimberly Page, PhD, MPH, researches effective healthcare delivery models for hepatitis C. She has worked extensively in the development and implementation of the HPV vaccine.
  • N Mariam Salas, MD, works in quality improvement science around healthcare delivery models for complex care of patients living with HIV.
  • Bruce Struminger, MD, works closely with the Vietnam National TB Program, the UCSF Curry Center, and the CDC Division of Global HIV/AIDS to develop ECHO medical consultation and training programs for global MDR TB, HIV, and HCV.
  • Karla Thornton, MD, MPH, pioneered the ECHO system along with Dr. S Arora (gastroenterology). She participates in multiple studies looking at care delivery models for HCV across multiple disadvantaged populations.

The Departments of Hospital Epidemiology, Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Control are overseen by ID faculty both at the University of New Mexico and at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center.

  • Meghan Brett, MD, is the Medical Director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Team at UNM Hospital. She works with her team to develop clinical decision protocols for common infections. She engages in quality improvement science to improve hospital quality matrix outcomes.
  • Keenan Ryan Pharm D, Pharm C, conducts research in pharmacokinetics and methods of antibiotic delivery.
  • Carla Walraven Pharm D, BCPS-AQ ID, Infectious Disease Pharmacist, co-directs the antimicrobial stewardship team and is active in quality improvement science and the development of clinical disease treatment pathways.  

The Division of Infectious Diseases collaborates with a wide range of departments at the University of New Mexico in the field of microbial pathogenesis. Some of these collaborations include grant funded research with the Autophagy, Inflammation and Metabolism Center, as well as the Center for Global Health.

  • Steven Bradfute, PhD, works with hemorrhagic fever viruses and the development of vaccines for Ebola and Zika virus.
  • Tom Byrd, MD, is a grant funded researcher investigating the pathogenesis of Mycobacterium abscessus.
  • Douglas Perkins, PhD, has extensive, well-funded projects in Africa looking at severe malaria and interactions between malaria and other infections such as HIV, various bacteremias, etc.
  • Renee Mercier, Pharm D, Pharm C, BCPS-AQ ID, FCCP, researches MRSA characteristics that contribute to treatment failure.
  • Ivy Foo-Hurwitz, PhD, is investigating the pathogenesis of Clostridium difficile.
  • Stella Bernardo, PhD, is research assistant professor who researches the pathophysiology of Candida albicans, and the formation of biofilm.

The Division of Infectious Diseases works closely with TriCore Reference Laboratories in the field of cutting-edge diagnostics. TriCore is the leading clinical laboratory in the state, providing laboratory and diagnostic support for over 80% of New Mexico.

  • Karissa Culbreath PhD, D (ABMM), is the Scientific Director for Infectious Disease, Research and Development at TriCore Reference Laboratories. Her areas of research include diagnostics capacity development in international and domestic resource limited settings​. 
  • Steve Young, PhD, is the director of research and clinical trials at TriCore Reference Laboratories.

Many labs at the University of New Mexico focus on discovering new targets for therapeutic agents and developing novel drugs to cure infectious diseases. The Division also has a robust ID clinical pharmacist team that spearheads research in areas of healthcare delivery in the outpatient setting, ranging from parenteral antibiotics to antiretroviral therapy.

  • Bernadette Jakeman Pharm D, Pharm C, ACPS, performs research related to her work in infectious diseases and HIV. Her work also includes pharmacotherapy interventions and effective practice initiatives.
  • Renee Mercier, Pharm D Pharm C, BCPS-AQ ID, FCCP, uses an in-vitro model of MRSA endocarditis to assess interactions between various pharmacologic agents. Her work also encompasses clinical research targeting combination therapies using new anti-staphylococcal drugs.
  • Douglas Perkins, PhD, has a continued team project covering malarial drug discovery
  • Keenan Ryan Pharm D, Pharm C, is interested in pharmacokinetics and methods of antibiotic delivery, particularly vancomycin continuous infusion therapy for complex infections.