Garth Ehrlich is Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCOM) in Philadelphia, USA. He also directs both the Center for Genomic Sciences (CGS) and the Center for Advanced Microbial Processing (CAMP) within the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease, and the Core Genomics Facility within the Clinical and Translational Research Institute.
CGS scientists utilize a broad array of comparative genomic techniques and bioinformatic tools to identify and characterize both virulence genes within pathogens, and susceptibility genes to pathogens within their hosts. Dr Ehrlich is also one of the founders of the field of Clinical Molecular Diagnostics (MDx), having been involved in the original application of PCR for the detection of human retroviruses in 1985. He founded the MDx Division at UPMC and used these experiences to author the first text book/lab manual for infectious disease (ID) MDx. Together with a team of like-minded pioneers he was one of the founders of the Association for Molecular Pathology and served as the first co-chair of the ID section. Dr Ehrlich counts among his major contributions to science the re-writing of much of our understanding of chronic bacterial pathogenesis. This began with his promulgation of the biofilm paradigm to explain many facets of chronic mucosal microbial infections. He also advanced the Distributed Genome Hypothesis to explain the enormous clinical variability among strains of a bacterial species, which together with the biofilm paradigm form the bases for his rubric of Bacterial Plurality. More recently he developed the concept of bacterial population-level virulence factors and has used statistical genetics for the first time within the field of bacterial genomics to identify distributed genes that are associated with virulence.
Dr. Ehrlich’s latest paradigm-changing hypothesis is that Alzheimer’s disease results from a combination of chronic bacterial infections of the brain and the brain’s anti-microbial and inflammatory responses to these infections.
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