Targeting the difficult problem of C. difficle

July 23, 2013

WHAT: Microbiologist and molecular geneticist Aimee Shen, Ph.D., was named The Pew Charitable Trusts' biomedical researcher of the month for her creative research on health care-associated infections. Specifically, Shen studies the bacterium Clostridium difficile, the cause of thousands of diarrhea-related deaths every year in the United States.

The bacteria form hardy spores that can survive antibacterial treatments. Shen's University of Vermont laboratory focuses on germination--the process by which the spores become infectious bacteria again--with the long-term goal of developing new therapeutic tools to block it.

Shen's story is part of Pew's ongoing biomedical researchers of the month series that highlights research being conducted by Pew-sponsored scientists. Since 1985, Pew's biomedical programs have provided funding to more than 500 early-career investigators who, like Shen, show outstanding promise in science with the potential to advance human health. The scholars' exceptional research has earned them Nobel Prizes, Lasker Awards, MacArthur Foundation "genius" grants and other distinctions.

WHO: Experts are available for interviews regarding Shen's research and the program:WHERE: Visit's-Quest-to-Prevent-Healthcare-Associated-Infections-85899492077 to view the full video profile.

CONTACT: Chelsea Toledo at 202-540-6846,
For information regarding the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences, please visit

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