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NTM and Bronchiectasis Research Program

Our Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) and Bronchiectasis faculty are actively engaged in several research studies dedicated to advancing our knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of patients with these two related conditions.  Patients seen in the Johns Hopkins Center for NTM and Bronchiectasis have the opportunity to participate in studies that investigate novel diagnostic tests and therapies for NTM infection and bronchiectasis.  If any of the listed research studies below sound like they may apply to you, you can learn more by contacting our research office at or 443-287-6283.

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  • Poor treatment outcomes in NTM are largely attributed to drug resistance. The Lamichhane laboratory has made critical discoveries regarding peptidoglycan biosynthesis pathways of the mycobacterial cell wall in both M. tuberculosis and NTM, and understanding the mechanisms of action of beta-lactam antibiotics in mycobacteria. These key discoveries have opened up novel therapeutic avenues for these difficult to treat pathogens. Ongoing research in the Lamichhane laboratory is dedicated to the investigation of mycobacterial drug resistance mechanisms, developing optimal antibiotic combinations for multi-drug therapy to treat drug-resistant NTM disease, and the development of much needed animal models of NTM infection.

    Team: Gyanu Lamichhane
    Funding: NIH, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

  • Current laboratory methods for the diagnosis and phenotypic characterization of mycobacteria are time-consuming and burdensome. New and improved tools to detect mycobacteria in clinical samples and characterize drug resistance among both M. tuberculosis and NTM are desperately needed. Research efforts by the Johns Hopkins Mycobacteriology Laboratory seek to advance diagnostic testing methodologies, develop novel therapeutic strategies and understand drug resistance mechanisms in these challenging pathogens.

    Team: Nikki Parrish

  • The Johns Hopkins Center for NTM and Bronchiectasis is an active clinical trial site for studies of novel therapeutics and drug regimens for NTM and bronchiectasis, airway clearance techniques, diagnostic testing strategies, patient-reported outcome studies and among other investigations. The menu of clinical trial options that are actively enrolling in our Center changes frequently. If you are interested in learning more about participating in a clinical trial with our Center, please discuss this with your physicians at your next clinic visit.

    Team: Keira Cohen, Mark Jennings, Christopher Lippincott

  • Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are environmental bacteria that can cause chronic pulmonary infection. Drug resistance is a major challenge in the treatment of NTM, and therapeutic options are often limited by both innate and acquired drug resistance. This study uses advanced DNA sequencing and genetic techniques to understand drug resistance mechanisms in clinically relevant NTM. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop improved tools to diagnose and treat drug-resistant NTM.

    Team: Keira Cohen
    Funding: K08 HL139994 (Cohen), 12/11/17 – 11/30/22; Burroughs Wellcome Fund (Cohen), 9/1/18 – 8/31/23

  • Both pulmonary disease from nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis are increasing in the US. Oftentimes, these related medical conditions occur together, however, the natural history, pathogenesis, optimal treatment strategies and the interplay between these diagnoses remain poorly understood. In this study we are developing a database of clinical information and laboratory data from people with a possible or certain diagnosis of NTM or bronchiectasis to better understand these conditions. All clinic patients of the Johns Hopkins Nontuberculous Mycobacteria and Bronchiectasis Center are invited to participate in this voluntary study. If an individual chooses not to participate in this study, this will not affect any aspect of the care that he or she receives at Johns Hopkins.

    Team: Keira Cohen, Mark Jennings, Gyanu Lamichhane, Tony Lin, Nikki Parrish, Jonathan Zenilman, Chris Lippincott
    Funding: Eudowood Board research support

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