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Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Michael Schmidt, PhD

Schmidt PicProfessor and Vice Chairman of Microbiology and Immunology
Director, Office of Special Programs

1985-1989  Postdoctoral Fellowship, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Research Associate in the laboratory of Donald B. Oliver.

1985  Ph.D., Indiana University

Contact Info
Tel: 843-792-9532
BSB 206B

Research Interests

The 4th leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease, cancer and stroke, is Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) where approximately five percent of the patients admitted to US hospitals will acquire an infection.  Very little is known of what fraction of these infections result from a microbial contribution obtained from objects present in the built environment.  Currently, Dr. Schmidt is leading a team of infectious disease specialists, from three health sciences centers, and together with engineers from industry, they are assessing what role the microbes, associated with objects that patients, health care workers and visitors encounter while in hospital play, in the acquisition of a HAI.  Through an interventional study they are evaluating the antimicrobial effects of metallic copper for its ability to reduce colonization rates and infection in order to assess the contribution that the microbes associated with objects found in the built environment play in this critical problem. 

In a related project, in collaboration with the laboratories of Drs. Gene Feigley and Jamil Kahn at the University of South Carolina and industrial partners, he is similarly evaluating the effectiveness of metallic copper for its ability to reduce the microbial burden associated with heat exchangers used to condition indoor air in order to assess the ability of metallic copper to improve indoor air quality and the efficiency with which energy is transferred.   

Dr. Schmidt and his laboratory also have expertise in the molecular characterization of complex biofilms, principally; those associated mixed microbial communities including those of medical significance.  Recent work has focused on the relationship between the population distribution of an individual’s gut flora or intestinal microbiome and the genesis of colorectal cancer and the role that the microbiome of the host plays in the development of diseases such as type II diabetes. 

Biodefense preparedness has been an interest of Dr. Schmidt’s for over twelve years.  His interest in this area started during the development of the antimicrobial therapy based on the use of bacteriophage.  It was anticipated that the administration of a phage based therapeutic to a large number of at risk individuals would have fewer long-term consequences than the wholesale administration of antibiotics.  As such this work provided him a unique perspective from which he was able to create a series of training modules associated with the topics of bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases as well how best to prepare for the unthinkable.  He has contributed this expertise to a project that was sponsored by HRSA where the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (SC-AHEC) addressed the training needs of practicing healthcare professionals for bioterrorism and public health emergency event recognition and response.  Most recently he has served as a content expert and trainer in preparing health care professionals and organizations for the issues associated with dealing with the consequences of a global pandemic of influenza.  

Recent Publications | Additional Publications

Ellet, JD, Evans, ZP, Atkinson, C.  Schmidt, M.G., Schnellman, RG, Chavin, KD.  2010. Murine Kupffer cells are protective in hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury through IL-10.  Journal of Immunology 184:5849-5858. PMID: 20400698.

Ellett JD, Evans ZP, Atkinson C, Schmidt MG, Schnellmann RG, Chavin KD.  2009.  Toll-like receptor 4 is a key mediator of murine steatotic liver warm ischemia/reperfusion injury. Liver Transpl. 2009 Sep;15(9):1101-9. PMID: 19718644. 

Evans ZP, Ellett JD, Fariss MW, Schnellmann RG, Schmidt M.G, Chavin K.  2008.  Vitamin E succinate reduces ischemia/reperfusion injury in steatotic livers. Transplant Proc. 2008 10:3327-9. PMID: 19100382

Ellet, J.D., Evans, Z.P.,. Fiorini, J.H ., Haines, J.K., Schmidt, M.G. and Chavin, K.D.  2008.  The use of the Papworth cocktail is detrimental to steatotic livers following ischemia/reperfusion injury.  Transplantation.  86:286-292. PMID: 18645492

Evans ZP, Ellett JD, Schmidt M.G., Schnellmann RG, Chavin KD. 2008.  Mitochondrial uncoupling protein-2 mediates steatotic liver injury following ischemia/reperfusion. J Biol Chem. 283:8573-8579. PMID: 18086675

D. A. Schofield, C. Westwater, B. D. Hoel, P. A. Werner, J. S. Norris and M. G. Schmidt.  2003.  Development of a thermally regulated broad-spectrum promoter system for use in pathogenic Gram-positive species. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69:  3385-3392. PMID: 12788740

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