Currently, I am a second year Research Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Edward Sherwood in the Department of Anesthesiology. My research focuses on characterizing the alterations adaptive immune system function, specifically relating to T cell number and function, following burn injury and wound infection (sepsis). Burns cause a disruption of the protective skin barrier leading to exposed wounds that offer an ideal opportunity for microbial colonization and dissemination into blood and other organs leading to sepsis, multiorgan failure, and death. In the US alone, sepsis causes ~ 215,000 deaths annually and a healthcare burden of ~ $14 billion. Studies have shown that severe injuries and sepsis suppress the normal immune response and predispose the host to opportunistic infections and death. T cell dysfunction is known to be a major factor contributing to morbidity and mortality in patients with non-burn related sepsis. However, very few, if any, studies have examined T cell function in subjects with burn injuries and infection. Therefore, the major focus of my research is to study the temporal changes in T cell responses during burn injury and wound infection induced sepsis. Importantly, I am also conducting pre-clinical studies to evaluate the therapeutic potential of agents such as recombinant human interleukin-7, Flt3 ligand, anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 to name a few, in a murine model of burn wound sepsis.
My clinical mentor, Dr. Pratik Pandharipande, is a Professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery, in the division of Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine. Under his mentorship, I intend to gain experience in clinical aspects of critically ill patients and related clinical research. The joint mentorship of Dr. Pandharipande and Dr. Sherwood will provide me valuable clinical and research experience, and potentially help me to develop a translational project in critically ill burn/sepsis patients, related to my basic science project as detailed above.