Division of Infectious Diseases

Michael A. Matthias, PhD

Assistant Professor

George Palade Laboratories, Room 105

9500 Gilman Drive

Mail Code 0741

La Jolla, CA 92093-0741

Phone: 858-822-5320

Fax: 858-822-5322
E-mail: mmatthias@ucsd.edu


Background

Michael A. Matthias, Ph.D., graduated from the University of the West Indies (UWI) with double first class honors in Biology and Chemistry in 1995, and was awarded the UWI Postgraduate Award that same year that funded his postgraduate work in Molecular and Medical Microbiology. He joined the UCSD Faculty as a member of the UCSD School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases as Assistant Adjunct Professor of Medicine in 2009 with a research focus in Tropical Infectious Diseases.

Research Interests

Our research seeks to understand how microbial ecology and human genetics influence the transmission and clinical progression of leptospirosis using field and laboratory based studies that utilize molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, cell biology, high throughput sequencing, metagenomics and comparative genomics approaches. Leptospirosis is perhaps the most widespread zoonotic disease worldwide with case fatality rates of 5 – 15%. The disease has gained recent attention as an emerging infectious disease due to flood-associated epidemics of severe pulmonary hemorrhage syndrome—a serious and often-fatal manifestation of leptospirosis—now recognized as a widespread and significant public health problem. Despite an improved understanding of leptospiral biology, there has been comparatively little progress made towards implementing effective public health responses and challenges with respect to diagnosis and clinical management persist globally. One of the important questions we are addressing is why some patients with leptospirosis develop mild “flu-like” illness, while others progress to acute renal failure, pulmonary hemorrhage, meningitis and/or myocarditis/heart failure. Our work at UCSD uses animal models to study the pathophysiology and immunopathogenesis of severe disease, while our studies in Iquitos include human and microbial ecology studies to gain mechanistic insights into the maintenance and transmission of leptospirosis, and are being done with collaborators at UCSD, the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, the J. Craig Venter Institute and Johns Hopkins University.

 

Selected Publications