Alumni Lecture Series 2018: Dr. Julia K. Bohannon
"Discovery of novel therapeutics for the prevention of infection in burn patients: applications from bench to bedside."
Dr. Julia K. Bohannon
Monday, September 10. 2018
Reception from 6:00 - 7:00 pm in Science Building Atrium
Lecture from 7:30 p.m - 9:00 p.m., 3104 Science Building
Infection is the leading cause of death in severely burned patients who survive the initial burn injury. This is due primarily to the loss of the protective barrier of the skin, increased exposure to bacteria and other pathogens in the hospital setting, and reduced immunity to infection resulting from the injury, which minimizes the patient’s ability to fight off infection in the body. Current therapies to prevent infection in burn patients rely heavily on treatment with antibiotics. However increasing numbers of bacteria are becoming antibiotic resistant, which diminishes the effectiveness of antibiotics. Identifying therapies that can restore proper immune function in burn patients, allowing their bodies to more effectively fight off invading pathogens and prevent deadly infections is the focus of my research. This lecture will provide (1) a better understanding of the challenges of treating and preventing infections in susceptible patients, (2) an understanding of mechanisms for modulating the immune response to infection, and (3) discussion of therapies aimed at targeting the immune system to protect immunocompromised patients, such as the severely burned.
Dr. Julia K. Bohannon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN. She joined the Anesthesiology department as a postdoctoral fellow under Dr. Ed Sherwood in 2012. She became junior faculty in 2015 and now has her own research program aimed at investigating immunomodulatory therapies for the prevention of infection and sepsis following a severe burn injury. Infection is the leading cause of death and prolonged hospitalization in severely burned patients that survive the acute phase of injury and the goal of Dr. Bohannon’s research is to identify potential therapeutic agents for the prevention of infection in severely burned patients. Her personal experience as a severe burn victim drives her motivation to maintain a long-term career in burn research, specifically immunomodulation therapies.
Dr. Bohannon obtained a B.S. degree in Biology from Eastern Kentucky University in 2003 and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Texas Medical Branch in 2011. She is a recipient of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Faculty Clinical and Translational Research Scholars Award (2016) and the Society for Leukocyte Biology Jeanette Thornbecke Award (2017).