Harrison Laboratory

Dr. Lee Harrison has focused his research career on use of molecular epidemiologic and microbial genomic tools to answer fundamental questions about the emergence and transmission of bacterial pathogens. Over the past 15 years, the laboratory has concentrated on studying various aspects of drug-resistant and vaccine preventable bacterial infections, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Clostridium difficile, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, with a focus on genomic epidemiology.


Contributions to Science


  1. Translational epidemiologic studies of drug-resistant and vaccine-preventable invasive bacterial diseases. Much of the research has focused on epidemiologic methods to define the disease burden of and risk factors for invasive bacterial diseases. This work has been highly translational because it has contributed to the development and refinement of immunization and other policies.
  2. Microbial genomics to dissect emergence and transmission of bacterial disease. Dr. Harrison’s lab develops and uses microbial genomic tools to understand pathogen transmission and microbial characteristics that are relevant to vaccine prevention.
    His laboratory published the first multilocus variable number tandem repeat (MLVA) assay for Escherichia coli 0157:H7, the first MLVA assay for Clostridium difficile, and also used whole genome sequencing to understanding the emergence of important meningococcal clones, most recently the 2000 “Hajj clone”, which is currently a major cause of meningococcal disease in the meningitis belt of Sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. Global research in invasive bacterial diseases. Demonstrating the large benefit of incorporating rea l-time PCR into routine public health surveillance for bacterial meningitis in Sao Paulo. We have also conducted detailed molecular epidemiologic
    characterizations of Brazilian invasive meningococcal isolates, with a focus on vaccine antigens.
  4. Global research in HIV epidemiology. Impact of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I infection among Brazilian patients co-infected with HIV.
Division of Infectious Diseases
Academic Administrative Office

818 Scaife Hall
3550 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Center for Care of Infectious Diseases

Falk Medical Building
3601 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Patient Appointments: 412-647-7228