Kathryn Michels graduated with a Bachelors of Art in Biology from St. Mary's College of Maryland in 2012. She went to graduate school from 2012-2017 at the University of Virginia in the department of microbiology, immunology, and cancer biology under Dr. Borna Mehrad. Her graduate research focused on nutritional immunity during gram-negative pneumonia and invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. In 2017, she joined the lab of Dr. Nicholas Lukacs at the University of Michigan where her work focuses on the immunopathology of airway hypersensitivity and RSV.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of infant hospitalization worldwide. RSV infects virtually every person before they are 2 years of age. While most RSV infections require no medical intervention, a severe RSV infection can induce enough mucus production to occlude the airways of infants, causing acute breathing difficulty and requiring medical intervention. Children who have had a severe RSV even are much more likely to develop asthma and wheeze later in life than those who had a more mild infection. Clinical and experimental evidence suggests a direct causal relationship between severe RSV, and subsequent wheeze. Why do some children develop severe disease, while others do not? How does a short term infection cause long-term changes in the lung? My research focuses on how acute inflammatory events can change the immune landscape of the lung, enhancing susceptibility to excessive inflammation later in life. I am also engaged in the study of immune events during neonatal sepsis.
2014 T32 Infectious Disease training grant
2017 T32 Lung Immunopathology training grant