Two Yale Researchers Receive Donaghue Investigator Award

Elizabeth Bradley, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale School of Medicine, and Barbara Kazmierczak, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine/infectious diseases and microbial pathogenesis, are recipients of the 2002 Donaghue Investigator Program award from the Donaghue Medical Research Foundation.

Bradley and Kazmierczak are among three researchers in the state who will receive about $100,000 annually for up to five years of study. The award is a Connecticut-focused program aimed at supporting particularly promising medical and public health researchers committed to academic and other nonprofit research institutions and organizations in the state. The funding emphasis is on the investigator and the program of research, rather than on a specific study.

Bradley’s research seeks to identify “best practices” in successful hospitals around the country and in Connecticut, with a focus on patients with heart problems. Bradley is working with a team of experts in cardiology, quality improvement, organizational behavior and statistics to compare different hospital-based strategies to enhance quality of care. She will also use the funding to disseminate the research findings to local hospitals and the public to ensure practical benefits for patients.

“We invest enormous resources in this country developing guidelines for the best care possible for patients,” said Bradley. “If successful, our research will reveal how best to adopt this research evidence into clinical practice, at the hospital level where patients receive care.”

Kazmierczak’s research is focused on how human cells respond to disease-causing bacteria. She plans to assess how epithelial cells that line the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts contribute to sensing the presence of pathogenic bacteria and to organizing an immediate immune response to these organisms. She is particularly interested in learning why these protective responses fail in certain individuals, thus enabling opportunistic pathogens to cause serious infections in hospitalized patients with compromised immune systems.

“The long-term support of the Donaghue Research Foundation allows us to ask difficult research questions that may not yield easy or quick answers, but whose solution is nonetheless fundamental to improving how we care for patients at high risk for opportunistic infections,” said Kazmierczak.

The Donaghue Medical Research Foundation is located in West Hartford, Connecticut and funds medical research projects in the State that promote medical knowledge of practical benefit to human health.

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