Ephraim Tsalik, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Member of Duke Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine
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

Yan, Qin, Sun Hee Ahn, Felix Mba Medie, Batu K. Sharma-Kuinkel, Lawrence P. Park, William K. Scott, Hitesh Deshmukh, et al. “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 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0179033.

PMID
28594911
Full Text

Langley, R. J., T. E. Sweeney, T. Perumal, R. Henao, H. R. Wong, B. Tang, P. Khatri, E. Tsalik, and L. Mangravite. “Federated Gene Expression Analysis Of Mortality Prediction In Sepsis.” In American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol. 195. AMER THORACIC SOC, 2017.

Scholars@Duke

Limkakeng, Alexander T., Andrew A. Monte, Christopher Kabrhel, Michael Puskarich, Laura Heitsch, Ephraim L. Tsalik, and Nathan I. Shapiro. “Systematic Molecular Phenotyping: A Path Toward Precision Emergency Medicine?.” Acad Emerg Med 23, no. 10 (October 2016): 1097–1106. https://doi.org/10.1111/acem.13027.

PMID
27288269
Full Text

Yang, William E., Sunil Suchindran, Bradly P. Nicholson, Micah T. McClain, Thomas Burke, Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, Clayton D. Harro, et al. “Transcriptomic Analysis of the Host Response and Innate Resilience to Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli Infection in Humans..” J Infect Dis 213, no. 9 (May 1, 2016): 1495–1504. https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiv593.

PMID
26787651
Full Text

McClain, M. T., R. Henao, J. Williams, B. Nicholson, T. Veldman, L. Hudson, E. L. Tsalik, et al. “Differential evolution of peripheral cytokine levels in symptomatic and asymptomatic responses to experimental influenza virus challenge..” Clin Exp Immunol 183, no. 3 (March 2016): 441–51. https://doi.org/10.1111/cei.12736.

PMID
26506932
Full Text

Tsalik, Ephraim L., Yanhong Li, Lori L. Hudson, Vivian H. Chu, Tiffany Himmel, Alex T. Limkakeng, Jason N. Katz, et al. “Potential Cost-effectiveness of Early Identification of Hospital-acquired Infection in Critically Ill Patients..” Ann Am Thorac Soc 13, no. 3 (March 2016): 401–13. https://doi.org/10.1513/AnnalsATS.201504-205OC.

PMID
26700878
Full Text

Tsalik, Ephraim L., Ricardo Henao, Marshall Nichols, Thomas Burke, Emily R. Ko, Micah T. McClain, Lori L. Hudson, et al. “Host gene expression classifiers diagnose acute respiratory illness etiology..” Sci Transl Med 8, no. 322 (January 20, 2016). https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aad6873.

PMID
26791949
Full Text

McClain, Micah T., Bradly P. Nicholson, Lawrence P. Park, Tzu-Yu Liu, Alfred O. Hero, Ephraim L. Tsalik, Aimee K. Zaas, et al. “A Genomic Signature of Influenza Infection Shows Potential for Presymptomatic Detection, Guiding Early Therapy, and Monitoring Clinical Responses..” Open Forum Infect Dis 3, no. 1 (January 2016). https://doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofw007.

PMID
26933666
Full Text

Ruopp, Marcus, Karen Chiswell, Joshua T. Thaden, Kunal Merchant, and Ephraim L. Tsalik. “Respiratory Tract Infection Clinical Trials from 2007 to 2012. A Systematic Review of ClinicalTrials.gov..” Ann Am Thorac Soc 12, no. 12 (December 2015): 1852–63. https://doi.org/10.1513/AnnalsATS.201505-291OC.

PMID
26360527
Full Text

Tsalik, Ephraim L., Laurel K. Willig, Brandon J. Rice, Jennifer C. van Velkinburgh, Robert P. Mohney, Jonathan E. McDunn, Darrell L. Dinwiddie, et al. “Renal systems biology of patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome..” Kidney Int 88, no. 4 (October 2015): 804–14. https://doi.org/10.1038/ki.2015.150.

PMID
25993322
Full Text

Pages