The goal of Dr. Miller’s lab in the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology is to understand mechanisms of protective immune responses against the common bacterial skin pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. To study these infections, the lab has employed advanced in vivo bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging techniques to track both bacterial clearance and the host immune response noninvasively and longitudinally over time. In addition, they have developed innovative human skin culture systems, including full-thickness human skin explants and organotypic keratinocyte skin cultures. This area of research is highly significant, since Staphylococcus aureus skin infections represent a major public health threat in the U.S. due to their increasing incidence and the widespread emergence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and multi-drug resistant strains. This research is focused on providing the groundwork for future immunotherapies and vaccination strategies against these important human pathogens.
In addition to work in the skin, the lab also studies the protective immune responses and novel antibacterial coatings to help treat or prevent post-operative staphylococcal orthopaedic implant infections, which represent a devastating complication after orthopaedic surgical procedures. To study these infections, they have combined the surgical placement of orthopaedic-grade metallic implants with in vivo bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging to noninvasively monitor the infection and host response. This research will provide new insights into protective immune responses and novel treatments against orthopaedic and other surgical implant infections.
Lab Website: Miller Laboratory
Guo, Y, Ramos, RI, Cho, JS, Donegan, NP, Cheung, AL, Miller, LS. “In vivo bioluminescence imaging to evaluate systemic and topical antibiotics against community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus-infected skin wounds in mice.” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 57(2):855-863. PMID: 23208713. PMCID: PMC Journal – In Process. 2013.
Cho, JS, Guo, Y, Ramos, RI, Hebroni, F, Plaisier, SB, Xuan, C, Granick, JL, Matsushima, H, Takashima, A, Iwakura, Y, Cheung, AL, Cheng, G, Lee, DJ, Simon, SI, Miller, LS. “Neutrophil-derived IL-1β is sufficient for abscess formation in immunity against Staphylococcus aureus in mice.” PLOS Pathogens. 8(11): e1003047. 2012.
Niska, JA, Shahbazian, JH, Ramos, RI, Pribaz, JR, Billi, F, Francis, KP, Miller, LS. “Daptomycin and tigecycline have a broader effective dose range than vancomycin as prophylaxis against a surgical implant Staphylococcus aureus infection in mice.” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 56(5) 2590–2597. 2012.
Pribaz, JR, Bernthal, NM, Billi, F, Cho, JS, Ramos, RI, Francis, KP, Miller, LS. “Mouse model of chronic post-arthroplasty infection: noninvasive in vivo bioluminescence imaging to monitor bacterial burden for long-term study.” Journal of Orthopaedic Research.30: 335-340. 2012.
Cho, JS, Zussman, J, Donegan, NP, Ramos, RI, Garcia, NC, Uslan, DZ, Iwakura, Y, Simon, SI, Cheung, AL, Modlin, RL, Kim, J, Miller, LS. “Noninvasive in vivo imaging to evaluate immune responses and antimicrobial therapy against Staphylococcus aureus and USA300 MRSA skin infections.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 131(4):907-15. 2011.