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Meet Robert Dickson


“We have been studying sepsis and ARDS for more than half a century, and yet we have no medicines, other than antibiotics, to prevent or resolve these diseases,” says Robert Dickson, assistant professor in pulmonary and critical care at the University of Michigan.

With a 2016 ATS Foundation Research Program grant, Dr. Dickson is using novel molecular techniques to see if bacteria in the gut microbiome are translocated to the lungs during sepsis. The research builds on his discovery that gut bacteria can be found in the lungs of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

His latest research epitomizes the kind of innovative “high-risk, high-reward” investigations the Foundation supports. If intestinal bacteria are, in fact, translocated and can be detected in the blood during sepsis, this may provide researchers with new therapeutic targets for preventing and treating sepsis and arm clinicians with novel, rapid diagnostic tools.

Dr. Dickson says that he “fell in love” with research during his fellowship, when “he learned enough to ask and answer his own questions.” Without the Foundation grant, he adds, his questions about sepsis would go unanswered.

Thank you, Dr. Dickson, for sharing your story!

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