Patterson, Maria J.

Patterson, Maria J.

Professor

B.S. M.T. (ASCP), 1966, College of St. Francis
Ph.D., 1970, Northwestern University Medical School
Postdoctoral Trainee, 1971-1972, University of Washington
M.D., 1984, Michigan State University
Pediatric Residency, Michigan State University Affiliated Hospitals, 1984-1985; 1986-1987
Infectious Disease Fellowship,1985-1986, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Research

Dr. Patterson's current research, with medical residents and fellows, is centered on gastrointestinal tract microbes with two foci.

In the first, it is well documented that the GI tract of a fetus is sterile but after birth becomes colonized with bacteria from the mother and the surrounding environment. Multiple factors (gestational age, delivery mode, feeding type, exposure to antibiotics) affect the postnatal colonization of the GI tract. Early exposure of newborn infants to antibiotics may be associated with disturbances in normal postnatal acquisition of intestinal flora. Current understanding of neonatal intestinal colonization is still limited, since most previous studies used classical culture methods that identify only a limited number of bacterial species. In recent years, use of molecular techniques has greatly improved the study of GI ecology. The current research involves a large descriptive study designed to examine the effect of antibiotic exposure on postnatal intestinal colonization of newborns using comparative analysis of clone libraries of 16S rRNA genes in collaboration with MMG colleague Dr. Terry Marsh.

In the second focal area, we are exploring the impact of RotaTeq, a new live oral vaccine for rotavirus, introduced in early 2006, administered to children aged 6-32 weeks in three doses. The vaccine virus may be shed in the stool of vaccine recipients. There is no current literature describing how soon vaccine virus shedding begins after a vaccine dose, or how long it persists in stool. Since the current diagnostic test for rotavirus gastroenteritis is designed to detect virus antigen in the stool, this shedding may affect utility of the assay. We are investigating whether the diagnostic enzyme immunoassay detects vaccine virus, the duration of this detection, and whether some cases of acute gastroenteritis following a recently administered RotaTeq vaccine, diagnosed as "rotavirus infection," are actually due to vaccine virus shedding.