Joel Baseman, Ph.D., leads the NTI-funded airway disease study at the UT Health Science Center.

Microbiologists and surgeons team up to study airway disease in ICU patients

Joel Baseman, Ph.D., leads the NTI-funded airway disease study at the UT Health Science Center.

Joel Baseman, Ph.D., leads the NTI-funded airway disease study at the UT Health Science Center.

The discovery of a toxin produced by Mycoplasma pneumoniae five years ago in the lab of Joel Baseman, Ph.D., chairman of biology and immunology, sparked further research into how frequently M. pneumoniae infection affects patients on ventilators in intensive care units and how it impacts their outcomes. A $190,000 grant from the National Trauma Institute is allowing Health Science Center researchers to take their study into intensive care units (ICUs) around the country, where surgeons take a sample to a lab and then microbiologists analyze it. The study is an example of translational or “bench-to-bedside” research, where scientists and clinicians work together to ensure discoveries quickly emerge from laboratories to benefit patients. “It’s a terrific marriage between the clinical and basic science disciplines,” said Dr. Baseman, principal investigator of the study.

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