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

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-.

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 29, 2018): 379-394.

Full Text

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

Full Text

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-.

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

Tsalik, EL, Petzold, E, Kreiswirth, BN, Bonomo, RA, Banerjee, R, Lautenbach, E, Evans, SR, Hanson, KE, Klausner, JD, Patel, R, and the Diagnostics and Devices Committee, , and of the Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group, . "Advancing Diagnostics to Address Antibacterial Resistance: The Diagnostics and Devices Committee of the Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group." Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 64, no. suppl_1 (March 2017): S41-S47. (Review)

PMID
28350903
Full Text

Holcomb, ZE, Tsalik, EL, Woods, CW, and McClain, MT. "Host-Based Peripheral Blood Gene Expression Analysis for Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases." Journal of Clinical Microbiology 55, no. 2 (February 2017): 360-368. (Review)

PMID
27795332
Full Text

Patel, R, Tsalik, EL, Petzold, E, Fowler, VG, Klausner, JD, Evans, S, and Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group (ARLG), . "MASTERMIND: Bringing Microbial Diagnostics to the Clinic." Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 64, no. 3 (February 2017): 355-360.

PMID
27927867
Full Text

Yan, Q, Ahn, SH, Medie, FM, Sharma-Kuinkel, BK, Park, LP, Scott, WK, Deshmukh, H, Tsalik, EL, Cyr, DD, Woods, CW, Yu, C-HA, Adams, C, Qi, R, Hansen, B, and Fowler, VG. "Candidate genes on murine chromosome 8 are associated with susceptibility to Staphylococcus aureus infection in mice and are involved with Staphylococcus aureus septicemia in humans." PloS one 12, no. 6 (January 2017): e0179033-.

PMID
28594911
Full Text

Langley, RJ, Sweeney, TE, Perumal, T, Henao, R, Wong, HR, Tang, B, Khatri, P, Tsalik, E, and Mangravite, L. "Federated Gene Expression Analysis Of Mortality Prediction In Sepsis." 2017.

Scholars@Duke

Pages