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  • NIH Member Spotlight: Dr. Liise-anne Pirofski

    Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases and Selma and Dr. Jacques Mitrani Chair in Biomedical Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

    Dr. Liise-anne Pirofski studies immunity to disease-causing microbes, including Cryptococcus (the leading cause of fungal meningitis globally) and Pneumococcus (the leading cause of pneumonia in the United States and globally).

    In her role as chief of the division of infectious diseases at Montefiore, Dr. Pirofski led the development of an antibiotic stewardship program and an immunocompromised patient and transplant infectious diseases service. She has served extensively on NIH study sections and external advisory panels on infectious diseases.

    Dr. Pirofski’s NIH Supported Research

    For over two decades, Dr. Pirofski has run an NIH-funded research program focused on the virulence factors of Pneumococcus and Cryptococcus and limitations to antimicrobial therapy. Her research seeks to:

    • Identify the mechanisms that govern immunity to encapsulated microbes
    • Better predict disease susceptibility
    • Improve therapies and vaccines, particularly for immunocompromised patients

    Impact on Patients and Public Health

    Pneumococus causes more than one million deaths annually in children under the age of five and occurs widely in those with compromised antibody immunity. Cryptococcus causes more than 900,000 infections and 600,000 deaths annually, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa in patients with AIDS and organ transplants. Thanks to sustained NIH support, Dr. Pirofski’s work has improved understanding of how Cryptococcus and Pneumococcus cause disease. Her research will help improve treatment options and prognoses for immunocompromised patients with life-threatening infectious diseases.

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