Bacterial Diseases

Army scientist streaking sample on petri dish

The Bacterial Diseases branch addresses two of the top ten most significant infectious disease threats to U.S. Service Members, as identified by DOD-MIDRP - diarrheal diseases and multidrug resistant bacteria.

Bacterial threats take and keep Services Members out of the fight, threatening unit readiness and wound recovery. Nearly one out of five Soldiers deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan for at least seven months were confined to quarters for 3-4 days due to diarrheal disease. More dangerously, Soldiers experiencing a combat wound face the additional threat of multidrug-resistant (MDR) infection—a potentially life-threatening complication whose rise coincides with a growing lack of efficacy from gold-standard, antibiotic treatments.

Bacterial Disease branch (BDB) seeks to overcome these threats by developing new vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, targeting the most dangerous pathogens—Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter species, and Escherichia coli—through the Multidrug Resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network (MRSN), developing an effective diarrheal vaccine, and new antibiotics, including bacteriophages and novel antibiotic drug classes.

Research Areas

scientist examining petri dish
Wound Infection

BDB is on the forefront of efforts to develop bacteriophages and new classes of antibiotic drugs to combat the spread of multidrug resistant organisms and improve outcomes for Soldiers experiencing bacterial infections as a result of combat injuries.

scientist working with test tube
Diarrheal Diseases

Diarrheal diseases, notably Shigella, are a major source of morbidity among deployed U.S. military and a significant threat to readiness. To that end, BDB aims to develop a safe and effective vaccine against multiple Shigella strains to protect personnel overseas and keep Soldiers in the fight.

scientist working with lab instrument
MRSN

The MRSN tracks the movement of MDR organisms, serving as the largest DOD library of MDR bacterial isolates. Housing over 60,000 bacterial samples, it processes 500-800 new samples every month from military treatment facilities across the world and provides expert advice for infection control and treatment during suspected outbreaks.