Gayatri Vedantam

The University of Arizona
School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences

The goal of our research is to investigate the mechanism(s) of gut colonization by the diarrheic disease pathogen Clostridium difficileC. difficileis the etiologic agent of C. difficile infection (CDI), a leading cause of nosocomial disease world-wide. CDI causes a spectrum of disease manifestations that range from mild diarrhea to lethal pseudomembranous colitis. Over 400,000 cases of CDI occur annually in the USA, imposing a $3.2 billion excess burden on the healthcare system. Research in our laboratory is focused on the molecular characterization of non-toxin virulence factors of C. difficile, and is aimed at designing interventions to combat as well as prevent CDI. We are also involved in multiple surveillance studies in Tucson-area hospitals that quantitate the incidence of both nosocomial and community-acquired CDI, via direct bacterial culture of patient samples as well as recovery of spores from abiotic environments such as hospital surfaces.