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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Global research in HIV epidemiology. Impact of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I infection among Brazilian patients co-infected with HIV.


Lee H. Harrison, MD


Scaife Hall 865
3550 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Tel: 412-648-9704

Harrison Laboratory Members

Praveen Kumar

Crabtree Hall, A663

Email: PRK52@pitt.edu
Tel: 412-616-6151

Lora Pless, PhD

Scaife Hall, 865

Email: lora.pless@pitt.edu
Tel: 412-648-3102

Marissa P. Griffith

Scaife Hall, S861

Email: mpp19@pitt.edu
Tel: 412-648-9704

Vatsala Rangachar Srinivasa

Scaife Hall, 865

Email: VAR35@pitt.edu
Tel: 412-648-9704

Alexander Sundermann, DrPH, CIC

Falk Medical Bldg, Suite 150

Email: sundermannaj@upmc.edu
Tel: 412-692-2567

Kady Waggle

Scaife Hall 865

Email: KDW41@pitt.edu
Tel: 412-648-9704

Lei Zhu, PhD

Scaife Hall 865

Email: zhu.lei@pitt.edu
Tel: 412-648-9704

Division of Infectious Diseases
Academic Administrative Office

818 Scaife Hall
3550 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Academic Office: 412-383-9062

For Patients: 412-647-7228

Center for Care of Infectious Diseases

Falk Medical Building
3601 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Patient Appointments: 412-647-7228

Main CCID Fax: 412-647-7951