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

Tsalik, EL. "The microbial origins of obesity." Science Translational Medicine 6, no. 252 (January 1, 2014).

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Tsalik, EL. "Sequence-specific antibiotics." Science Translational Medicine 6, no. 259 (January 1, 2014): 259ec183-null.

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Tsalik, EL, Langley, RJ, Dinwiddie, DL, Miller, NA, Yoo, B, van Velkinburgh, JC, Smith, LD, Thiffault, I, Jaehne, AK, Valente, AM, Henao, R, Yuan, X, Glickman, SW, Rice, BJ, McClain, MT, Carin, L, Corey, GR, Ginsburg, GS, Cairns, CB, Otero, RM, Fowler, VG, Rivers, EP, Woods, CW, and Kingsmore, SF. "An integrated transcriptome and expressed variant analysis of sepsis survival and death." Genome Medicine 6, no. 11 (January 2014): 111-null.

PMID
25538794
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Langley, RJ, Tsalik, EL, Mohney, RP, Harrod, KS, Cairns, CB, Rivers, E, Woods, CW, and Kingsmore, SF. "Integrative Analysis Of The Metabolome, Proteome, And Transcriptome In Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome." AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE 189 (2014).

Scholars@Duke

Xiao, B, Wang, Y, Li, W, Baker, M, Guo, J, Corbet, K, Tsalik, EL, Li, Q-J, Palmer, SM, Woods, CW, Li, Z, Chao, NJ, and He, Y-W. "Plasma microRNA signature as a noninvasive biomarker for acute graft-versus-host disease." Blood 122, no. 19 (November 7, 2013): 3365-3375.

PMID
24041574
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Goswami, ND, Pfeiffer, CD, Horton, JR, Chiswell, K, Tasneem, A, and Tsalik, EL. "The State of Infectious Diseases Clinical Trials: A Systematic Review of ClinicalTrials.gov." Plos One 8, no. 10 (October 16, 2013): e77086-null.

PMID
24146958
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Zaas, AK, Burke, T, Chen, M, McClain, M, Nicholson, B, Veldman, T, Tsalik, EL, Fowler, V, Rivers, EP, Otero, R, Kingsmore, SF, Voora, D, Lucas, J, Hero, AO, Carin, L, Woods, CW, and Ginsburg, GS. "A host-based RT-PCR gene expression signature to identify acute respiratory viral infection." Sci Transl Med 5, no. 203 (September 18, 2013): 203ra126-null.

PMID
24048524
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Langley, RJ, Tsalik, EL, van Velkinburgh, JC, Glickman, SW, Rice, BJ, Wang, C, Chen, B, Carin, L, Suarez, A, Mohney, RP, Freeman, DH, Wang, M, You, J, Wulff, J, Thompson, JW, Moseley, MA, Reisinger, S, Edmonds, BT, Grinnell, B, Nelson, DR, Dinwiddie, DL, Miller, NA, Saunders, CJ, Soden, SS, Rogers, AJ, Gazourian, L, Fredenburgh, LE, Massaro, AF, Baron, RM, Choi, AMK, Corey, GR, Ginsburg, GS, Cairns, CB, Otero, RM, Fowler, VG, Rivers, EP, Woods, CW, and Kingsmore, SF. "An integrated clinico-metabolomic model improves prediction of death in sepsis." Sci Transl Med 5, no. 195 (July 24, 2013): 195ra95-null.

PMID
23884467
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Ahn, SH, Tsalik, EL, Cyr, DD, Zhang, Y, van Velkinburgh, JC, Langley, RJ, Glickman, SW, Cairns, CB, Zaas, AK, Rivers, EP, Otero, RM, Veldman, T, Kingsmore, SF, Lucas, J, Woods, CW, Ginsburg, GS, and Fowler, VG. "Gene expression-based classifiers identify Staphylococcus aureus infection in mice and humans." Plos One 8, no. 1 (January 9, 2013): e48979-null.

PMID
23326304
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Tsalik, EL, Jaggers, LB, Glickman, SW, Langley, RJ, van Velkinburgh, JC, Park, LP, Fowler, VG, Cairns, CB, Kingsmore, SF, and Woods, CW. "Discriminative value of inflammatory biomarkers for suspected sepsis." J Emerg Med 43, no. 1 (July 2012): 97-106.

PMID
22056545
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