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Dr. Lee and Colleagues Publish Breakthrough Paper on UTI in Nature Communications

Dr. John R. Lee

Dr. John R. Lee, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology and Hepatology, has published a breakthrough paper on urinary tract infection (UTI) in Nature Communications. The paper, entitled, “Gut Uropathogen Abundance is a Risk Factor for Bacteriuria and Urinary Tract Infection,” addresses the common medical problem of UTIs. In a collaborative study, Dr. Lee and colleagues revealed a first-of-its-kind discovery showing that the abundance of uropathogens in the gut is associated with future development of UTI.

Dr. Lee explains that it has been customarily thought that the gut is a source of UTI, but no direct link had been described previously. He and colleagues studied the gut microbiota in 168 kidney transplant recipients and found that the abundance of uropathogens in the gut is associated with future development of UTI. “To gain better insight into this relationship,” says Dr. Lee, “we performed a deeper strain analysis on urine and fecal specimens, which further supported our hypothesis that the gut bacteria is a potential source of UTI.” The team’s findings will assist with future studies that could utilize modulation of the gut microbiota for the prevention of UTIs. This development would be of particular benefit to patients with recurrent UTIs.

The study involved a multi-institutional collaboration among Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Dr. Manikkam Suthanthiran, Chief of Nephrology and Hypertension, Weill Cornell Medicine; Dr. Eric Pamer, Head of Duchossois Institute, University of Chicago; Dr. Iwijn De Vlaminck, Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University; Dr. Ying Taur, Assistant Member, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Dr. Lars Westblade, Director of Clinical Microbiology, Weill Cornell Medicine; Dr. Michael Satlin, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine; Dr. Darshana Dadhania, Associate Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine.

Full details of the publication can be found at Nature Communications.