Research opportunities bring Dr. Andrew Hryckowian to the Department of Medicine

The intersection of disciplines can be an innovative place for research. The opportunity to work with scientists across departments led Andrew Hryckowian, PhD, assistant professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, to UW-Madison.

In May 2020, Dr. Hryckowian joined the Department of Medicine and the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, where his lab studies the gut microbiome and bacterial pathogens, with the goal of developing alternatives to antibiotics; important research in the midst of an antibiotic resistance crisis.

One of the Hryckowian Lab’s projects focuses on Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), a bacterium that can cause severe diarrhea and life-threatening inflammation of the colon, and is commonly treated with antibiotics.

“Our goal is to use experimental approaches in the lab and samples from patients to develop more targeted solutions to combat this pathogen. But, what would these solutions be, and what would it take for them to get to patients?” he asks.

To address these and other questions, he was drawn to UW-Madison.

“Here, I feel lucky to be a member of two departments, one that has primarily clinically-focused colleagues and one that’s mostly colleagues who do basic science,” he says of being part of the Department of Medicine and the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, respectively.

Working with clinicians in the Department of Medicine helps inform his research about how patients view their health, what treatment options people are more likely to choose, and gives him “very pragmatic views of what findings may be realistically translatable.”

This opportunity has opened up new possibilities for research, in terms of resources and people to work with. For example, he and Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD, professor, Infectious Disease, who has done work in humans that parallels Dr. Hryckowian’s work in mice, are working together to apply for grants to further their work in developing innovative ways to treat bacterial infections. 

“There are big questions about the sustainability of antibiotics that keep getting bigger. I can’t say enough good things about this collaboration…exciting things to come!” he says.

 

Banner photo, Andrew Hryckowian, PhD. Credit: Clint Thayer/Department of Medicine.