Thomas M. Shinnick, PhD


CDC, Global Laboratory Activity

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Microbiology and Immunology

ARTDTP Research Discipline

Research in the Shinnick laboratory focuses on understanding the biology of the pathogenic mycobacteria, elucidating mechanisms of drug resistance of M. tuberculosis, and implementing rapid methods for the detection of drug resistance. The programmatic work focuses on building laboratory capacity for the diagnosis of TB in resource-limited settings and in high burden countries. A strength of this program is a close working relationship with the epidemiologists responsible for TB outbreak investigations and surveillance. The availability of epidemiologically well-characterized strains greatly facilitates studies to define genetic changes associated with drug resistance which in turn feeds the development of rapid tests to detect those changes as surrogate markers of drug resistance. For example, using well-characterized strains, the group defined the molecular basis of resistance to kanamycin, amikacin, and capreomycin individually as well as the molecular basis of cross-resistance between the three drugs. The clinical importance of the findings is that they led to a molecular test that could rapidly identify strains resistant to one, two, or three of the drugs. Also, understanding of the molecular basis of cross-resistance led to changes in treatment recommendations designed to preserve the effectiveness of each drug.

ARTDTP Faculty Collaborators

Rafi Ahmed, PhD

Rama R. Amara, PhD

Daniel Kalman, PhD