Thea Brennan-Krohn

Thea Brennan-Krohn

Thea Brennan-Krohn is a diplomate of the American Board of Medical Microbiology, having completed a CPEP fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). She is an attending in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Boston Children's Hospital and a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of James Kirby at BIDMC, where her research focuses on antimicrobial synergy testing for multidrug-resistant Gram negative pathogens. You can follow her on Twitter at @Thea_BK.

Antibiotic combinations are used frequently in the treatment of bacterial infections. How does the clinical microbiology lab test these combinations to see if they’re the right ones?

There are many unique aspects to neonatal and pediatric clinical microbiology: sometimes a test is a bigger deal in kids than in adults, sometimes it’s a smaller deal - and sometimes it’s just a smaller test.

Multiplex molecular gastrointestinal pathogen panels promise increased ease, speed, and throughput. But do these tests sometimes produce too many results? And what is lost when tests switch from culture-based to molecular methods?

Monday, 11 December 2017 14:37

Xenodiagnosis: Using a Pest as a Test

Most diagnostic tests are performed on agar plates or in plastic bottles, tubes, or wells, but in the past certain elusive infections were identified by a decidedly more exotic method. This post explores the technique of xenodiagnosis, in which an animal (usually the vector that carries the disease of interest) is exposed to a patient’s blood and monitored to see if it develops the infection.

While Lyme disease is the tick-borne illness people associate most readily with deer tick bites, the incidence of Babesia microti in the Northeast US has been increasing steadily. There are a range of tools, some new but many old, that can aid the diagnostician in detection of this important pathogen.

When laboratories provide susceptibility reports to clinicians, they must decide whether to include minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) or to report categorical interpretations (such as susceptible or resistant) alone. In some cases knowing the MIC value can help doctors, but in other cases it may just be… TMI.

In the era of antimicrobial resistance, the introduction of a new antibiotic is an eagerly anticipated event. But when clinicians learn that antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) for the antibiotic is not yet available, they are often confused and frustrated. Find out why the introduction of AST lags behind antimicrobial development and approval and what can be done to accelerate the process.​