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Elizabeth B Burgener, MD is a pediatric pulmonologist. After receiving her B.A. at Stanford University she completed medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 2011. She then returned to Stanford for residency in Pediatrics and fellowship in pediatric pulmonary medicine during which she also completed post-doctoral training in immunology in the Bollyky Lab. She is currently an instructor in the division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine in the department of Pediatrics where she treats patients with pulmonary disease as well as conducting translational research focused on infection and inflammation in cystic fibrosis.
Patients with cystic fibrosis suffer from chronic infection in their airways. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most common bacteria found in their lungs and is associated with faster decline in lung function and earlier death. We recently discovered a bacteriophage (virus) that infects Pseudomonas, Pf bacteriophage. This virus turns sputum into a thick goop of molecules called a biofilm that makes infection very difficult to treat. In the laboratory we know that Pf phage makes biofilms more viscous, more adherent, and it helps protect Pseudomonas from both antibiotics and immune cells. I am currently studying the role of Pf phage in patients with cystic fibrosis. Pf phage is associated with chronic infection, older age and increased antibiotic resistance in patients with cystic fibrosis.