Ephraim Tsalik, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Campus mail Box 102359 DUMC, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 684-3114
Email address e.t@duke.edu

My research is focused on understanding the dynamic between host and pathogen so as to discover and develop host-response markers that can diagnose and predict health and disease.  This new and evolving approach to diagnosing illness has the potential to significantly impact individual as well as public health considering the rise of antibiotic resistance.

With any potential infectious disease diagnosis, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine at the time of presentation what the underlying cause of illness is.  For example, acute respiratory illness is among the most frequent reasons for patients to seek care. These symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, and fever may be due to a bacterial infection, viral infection, both, or a non-infectious condition such as asthma or allergies.  Given the difficulties in making the diagnosis, most patients are inappropriately given antibacterials.  However, each of these etiologies (bacteria, virus, or something else entirely) leaves a fingerprint embedded in the host’s response. We are very interested in finding those fingerprints and exploiting them to generate new approaches to understand, diagnose, and manage disease.

These principles also apply to sepsis, defined as life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection. Just as with acute respiratory illness, it is often difficult to identify whether infection is responsible for a patient’s critical illness.  We have embarked on a number of research programs that aim to better identify sepsis; define sepsis subtypes that can be used to guide future clinical research; and to better predict sepsis outcomes.  These efforts have focused on many systems biology modalities including transcriptomics, miRNA, metabolomics, and proteomics.  Consequently, our Data Science team has utilized these highly complex data to develop new statistical methods, furthering both the clinical and statistical research communities.

Synergy between multi-disciplinary experts is crucial to tackle the threats posed by infectious diseases and the rise in antimicrobial resistance. We have successfully assembled a team of clinical scientists, data scientists, laboratorians, clinical research coordinators, among many others. Potential collaborators are encouraged to contact us.

These examples are just a small sampling of the breadth of research Dr. Tsalik and his colleagues conduct.  Please visit https://precisionmedicine.duke.edu/ for more details.

Education and Training

  • Fellowship in Infectious Diseases, Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, 2008 - 2011
  • Residency, Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, 2005 - 2008
  • M.D., Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 2005
  • Ph.D., Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 2003

Publications

Fourati, S, Talla, A, Mahmoudian, M, Burkhart, JG, Klén, R, Henao, R, Yu, T, Aydın, Z, Yeung, KY, Ahsen, ME, Almugbel, R, Jahandideh, S, Liang, X, Nordling, TEM, Shiga, M, Stanescu, A, Vogel, R, Respiratory Viral DREAM Challenge Consortium, , Pandey, G, Chiu, C, McClain, MT, Woods, CW, Ginsburg, GS, Elo, LL, Tsalik, EL, Mangravite, LM, and Sieberts, SK. "A crowdsourced analysis to identify ab initio molecular signatures predictive of susceptibility to viral infection." Nature Communications 9, no. 1 (October 24, 2018): 4418-null.

PMID
30356117
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Thaden, JT, Chiswell, K, Jaffe, I, Bergin, SP, Yang, WE, Romaine, A, Roberts, J, Nambiar, S, Farley, J, Benjamin, DK, Smith, PB, and Tsalik, EL. "Pediatric Antibacterial and Antifungal Trials From 2007 to 2017." Pediatrics 142, no. 3 (September 2018).

PMID
30158197
Full Text

Lydon, EC, Ko, ER, and Tsalik, EL. "The host response as a tool for infectious disease diagnosis and management." Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics (July 2, 2018): 1-16.

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Dela Cruz, CS, Wunderink, RG, Christiani, DC, Cormier, SA, Crothers, K, Doerschuk, CM, Evans, SE, Goldstein, DR, Khatri, P, Kobzik, L, Kolls, JK, Levy, BD, Metersky, ML, Niederman, MS, Nusrat, R, Orihuela, CJ, Peyrani, P, Prince, AS, Ramírez, JA, Ridge, KM, Sethi, S, Suratt, BT, Sznajder, JI, Tsalik, EL, Walkey, AJ, Yende, S, Aggarwal, NR, Caler, EV, and Mizgerd, JP. "Future Research Directions in Pneumonia. NHLBI Working Group Report." July 2018.

PMID
29546996
Full Text

Sweeney, TE, Azad, TD, Donato, M, Haynes, WA, Perumal, TM, Henao, R, Bermejo-Martin, JF, Almansa, R, Tamayo, E, Howrylak, JA, Choi, A, Parnell, GP, Tang, B, Nichols, M, Woods, CW, Ginsburg, GS, Kingsmore, SF, Omberg, L, Mangravite, LM, Wong, HR, Tsalik, EL, Langley, RJ, and Khatri, P. "Unsupervised Analysis of Transcriptomics in Bacterial Sepsis Across Multiple Datasets Reveals Three Robust Clusters." Critical Care Medicine 46, no. 6 (June 2018): 915-925.

PMID
29537985
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Sweeney, TE, Perumal, TM, Henao, R, Nichols, M, Howrylak, JA, Choi, AM, Bermejo-Martin, JF, Almansa, R, Tamayo, E, Davenport, EE, Burnham, KL, Hinds, CJ, Knight, JC, Woods, CW, Kingsmore, SF, Ginsburg, GS, Wong, HR, Parnell, GP, Tang, B, Moldawer, LL, Moore, FE, Omberg, L, Khatri, P, Tsalik, EL, Mangravite, LM, and Langley, RJ. "A community approach to mortality prediction in sepsis via gene expression analysis." Nature Communications 9, no. 1 (February 15, 2018): 694-null.

PMID
29449546
Full Text

Tsalik, EL, Bonomo, RA, and Fowler, VG. "New Molecular Diagnostic Approaches to Bacterial Infections and Antibacterial Resistance." Annual Review of Medicine 69 (January 2018): 379-394.

PMID
29414265
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Bergin, SP, and Tsalik, EL. "Procalcitonin: The Right Answer but to Which Question?." Clinical Infectious Diseases 65, no. 2 (July 15, 2017): 191-193.

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Wang, L, Ko, ER, Gilchrist, JJ, Pittman, KJ, Rautanen, A, Pirinen, M, Thompson, JW, Dubois, LG, Langley, RJ, Jaslow, SL, Salinas, RE, Rouse, DC, Moseley, MA, Mwarumba, S, Njuguna, P, Mturi, N, Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2, , Kenyan Bacteraemia Study Group, , Williams, TN, Scott, JAG, Hill, AVS, Woods, CW, Ginsburg, GS, Tsalik, EL, and Ko, DC. "Human genetic and metabolite variation reveals that methylthioadenosine is a prognostic biomarker and an inflammatory regulator in sepsis." Science Advances 3, no. 3 (March 8, 2017): e1602096-null.

PMID
28345042
Full Text

Burke, TW, Henao, R, Soderblom, E, Tsalik, EL, Thompson, JW, McClain, MT, Nichols, M, Nicholson, BP, Veldman, T, Lucas, JE, Moseley, MA, Turner, RB, Lambkin-Williams, R, Hero, AO, Woods, CW, and Ginsburg, GS. "Nasopharyngeal Protein Biomarkers of Acute Respiratory Virus Infection." Ebiomedicine 17 (March 2017): 172-181.

PMID
28238698
Full Text

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