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Daniel Wozniak, Ph.D.

Professor of Internal Medicine
Microbiology and Center for Microbial Interface Biology

1018 Biomedical Research Tower
460 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio, 43210
Phone: (614) 247-7629

Dr. Wozniak joined the faculty in 2008

Research Interests

Microbial pathogenesis and gene regulation

The major goal of our laboratory is to understand the molecular biology and pathogenesis of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This soil and water organism is a common, yet serious opportunistic pathogen. Additionally, P. aeruginosa causes severe pulmonary infections in patients with the genetic disease cystic fibrosis (CF). Failure to control colonization with P. aeruginosa in CF patients is now the major cause of pulmonary debilitation in this group. Our research has centered on genes involved in the regulation of several P. aeruginosa virulence factors. Molecular, biochemical, and genetic techniques are used address these issues.

We are currently investigating the biosynthesis and genetic regulation of two polysaccharides called alginate and Psl, which are critical factors in biofilm formation and thus pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa. Biofilms, which are defined as communities of microorganisms that are attached to a surface, play a critical role in infectious diseases. Because of their innate resistance to antibiotics, phagocytic cells, and other biocides, biofilms are difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate. Since the matrix contributes considerably to the highly resistant nature of the biofilm, it is anticipated that this work will lead to agents that could disrupt the matrix and be of significant therapeutic value patients colonized with P. aeruginosa. In this regard, we have ongoing collaborations with scientists to develop a conjugate vaccine for use in CF patients and to develop small molecule inhibitors of bacterial biofilms.

Among infectious diseases, respiratory infections are the leading cause of morbidity and a primary cause of death for children. At OSU, I am part of a team of investigators that study the host-pathogen interface in persistent airway infections. The long-term goals of our laboratory are to deepen our understanding of the interplay between host immunity and bacterial biofilms and to develop therapies to prevent persistence of infectious childhood agents by eliminating initial infection or progression to the biofilm mode of growth.


Curriculum Vitae

Center for Microbial Interface Biology

Department of Microbiology