W. Edward Swords
B.S., Auburn University
Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1996
phone: (336) 713-5049
“I don’t have a one-size-fits-all ‘educational philosophy’. Each person brings their own set of unique abilities, skills and challenges to laboratory work. It is my goal to guide students and postdocs to use their abilities as only they can.” Pathogenesis of opportunistic airway infections
The human nasopharynx harbors a diverse microbial community that includes Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae
, and Moraxella catarrhalis
. In most healthy people these bacteria colonize with little adverse effect. However, in children or adults with clearance problems, these bacteria cause opportunistic infections like bronchitis or otitis media (middle ear infections) that are among the leading public health problems in the world. Many of the traits that permit these bacteria to colonize and persist in the airway during normal carriage make them very difficult to treat as opportunistic pathogens. Our work is focused on understanding host-pathogen interactions that determine persistence vs. clearance in the airways. Although I am by training a bacteriologist, this is a multidisciplinary effort that also involves aspects of host immunity, cellular biology, and lung physiology.