Faculty Research Spotlight - Mark Dalman, Ph.D.
Hi, My name is Mark Dalman and I’m an assistant professor in the division of preclinical sciences here at KSUCPM.
My area of focus revolves around carriage of bacterial pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus and its multidrug resistant big brother MRSA, at the intersection of the host genome, the microbiome, and collectively their impact on precision medicine and the field of ‘Omic techniques.
Currently, I just submitted a manuscript to BMC Infectious Diseases looking at the molecular epidemiology of S. aureus in the gym setting. I looked across 16 different surfaces among four different types of fitness facility types (traditional gyms, community centers, hospital associated, and CrossFit centers). As gyms have become a significant meeting point outside of homes, colleges, and hospitals, contaminated gym facilities may play a significant role in providing a reservoir for antimicrobial resistance and its transmittance and potential infection in athletes and rehabilitation patients, alike. Within my study, Hospital associated centers had overall the lowest rates of contamination with water fountain and weight plates having the highest rates of contamination. Community centers were found to be the most contaminated and interestingly the weight ball was found to be the most contaminated surface across all fitness surfaces sampled whereas the bathroom was the least contaminated. Suggesting, there is a significant disparity among highly touch surfaces.
In addition to this study, I also have a monzygotic twins microbiome study going on where I sampled the nose, throat, and hands of twins to better understand carriage of S. aureus and its impact on microbiome composition. Essentially the idea whether nature and/or nurture that influences bacterial composition and presence. Upon sampling over 290 twins, I found gender, living with a sibling and secondary presence of S. aureus at another site to significantly influence carriage of S. aureus however, carriage was discordant among twin pairs. Moving forward future studies, I hope to expand this study to specific SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) within the host genome to better unravel casual relationships between host metabolites expressed (metaproteome) and microbe assemblage (microbiome).
In addition to these two current projects, I also am looking at a unique observation about redheads and their response to analgesic use in surgical procedures. The current literature suggests that mutations (SNPs) in the MC1R receptor are associated with redheads and increased threshold to analgesic function. In other words, they require a larger dose to respond in contrast to their brunette counterparts. We expect to get this project going in the early spring where we plan to assess nociception in relation to SNPs and microbiome composition.
With the expected development of my lab space here at KSU-CPM, I plan to leverage my knowledge of the microbiome and bioinformatics techniques to podiatric questions both within surgery, as well as the impact environment may play on carriage of microbes and resolution of infections and surgical procedures.