Johns Hopkins Integrated Center for Combating Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria


The Johns Hopkins Integrated Center for Combating Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria (HI-CARB) is investigating fundamental questions surrounding antimicrobial resistance by bringing together outstanding scientific expertise from across Johns Hopkins University in one unified center. Directed by Drs. Cynthia L. Sears and Pranita D. Tamma, HI-CARB combines the expertise of prominent investigators who have spent lengthy careers working “on one piece of the puzzle” to capitalize on their individual strengths and expertise, ensuring that the whole is better than the sum of its parts. Basic science investigators who have never worked with human specimens before are working with microbiologists who have never validated their findings using novel mouse models. Chemists are working with clinicians. The natural cross-fertilization of ideas amongst experts makes HI-CARB primed for producing meaningful scientific discoveries for years to come. Initial goals of HI-CARB include the following: (1) construct state-of-the-art in vitro and in vivo experimental and validation models to improve our understanding of host and microbial mechanisms that predispose certain human hosts to be at increased risk for significant and persistent colonization with antimicrobial resistant organisms; (2) develop novel diagnostics to rapidly identify AMR Pathogens in clinical specimens; and (3) identify innovative prevention and treatment strategies to interrupt the pathway between colonization with antimicrobial resistant pathogens and infections.



HI-CARB Investigators


Cynthia L. Sears, MD (Director)

Dr. Sears is a Professor of Medicine, Oncology and Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at Johns Hopkins University. Over the past three decades, her laboratory has made significant contributions to understanding how gut bacteria and microbial communities impact mucosal immune responses and promote human disease. Dr. Sears is the Director of the JHU Germ-Free Mouse Core and Co-Director of the JHU Microbiome Forum. Her leadership in science led to her being named the Infectious Diseases Society of America Maxwell Finland lecturer; elected to membership in the Association of American Physicians; and, in 2019, receiving the American College of Physicians Harriet P. Dustan Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine. In 2019, Johns Hopkins University further recognized her achievements with an endowed Chair. As a former President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Dr. Sears has accumulated outstanding managerial and leadership skills as well as a wealth of close contacts within the antimicrobial research community both within JHU as well as across the United States to ensure the success of HI-CARB.

Pranita D. Tamma, MD, MHS (Co-Director)

Dr. Tamma is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins University. Through past and present funding from the NIH, CDC, FDA, and AHRQ, her research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms of resistance in both the Enterobacterales and glucose-nonfermenting Gram-negative bacilli; developing and enhancing rapid phenotypic and genotypic methods to identify Gram-negative resistance to enable critically-ill patients to be placed on appropriate antibiotic therapy as early as possible, and optimizing the treatment of infections caused by antimicrobial resistant organisms – including through the use of bacteriophage therapy. Further, Dr. Tamma is an Editor for Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a Committee Member of the NIH-funded Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group Gram-Negative Committee, Co-Chair of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Antimicrobial Resistance Guidance, and a Voting Member of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute Subcommittee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing. Dr. Tamma is the Director of the Antibiotic Stewardship Implementation Collaborative, a consortium of 20 hospitals across the United States committed to improving the management of Gram-negative bloodstream infections. Through these national leadership roles, Dr. Tamma will ensure that the findings of HI-CARB have appropriate clinical translation and that they are widely disseminated to the scientific community.

Sara E. Cosgrove, MD, MS

Dr. Cosgrove is a Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University and Director of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Antimicrobial Stewardship. Her research career has focused on the epidemiology and outcomes of antimicrobial resistance, identifying effective strategies to reduce the acquisition and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance, and determining effective treatment strategies for patients infected with highly drug resistant pathogens. She was appointed to President Obama’s President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Working Group on Antimicrobial Resistance and is a voting member to the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. She is the past-president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and was an Assistant Deputy Editor of Clinical Infectious Diseases. She was inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2020

Amita Gupta, MD

Dr. Gupta is a Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, the Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Clinical Global Health Education, and a Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has more than 20 years of experience in international public health and clinical research. She is a clinical trialist and epidemiologist who is focused on the prevention and treatment of AMR, amongst other problematic pathogens, in adults and children in India. She is the Co-PI of the NIH-funded Baltimore-Washington-India Clinical Trials Unit which has established trial sites in India and a team of over 150 research staff. Her team and collaborators have investigated the epidemiology AMR in adults and children by enrolling >10,000 participants at 4 hospital sites in India. Her team has also conducted a CDC-funded multicenter interventional trial to reduce AMR colonization and sepsis amongst neonates in India. Dr. Gupta serves on the NIH NIAID Advisory Council and the Governing Board of the IndoUS Science and Technology Forum.

Gyanu Lamichhane, Ph.D.

Dr. Lamichhane is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He has been studying the molecular mechanisms of antibiotic activity and antibiotic resistance for over 15 years. Investigations over this period have yielded surprising insight into how unique aspects of the cell wall of bacteria can be leveraged to make them vulnerable to antibiotics and how biomolecules unique to bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan can be used as biomarkers of antibiotic resistance. His lab’s studies, initially based on fundamental genetic approaches, led to the surprise discovery of a novel class of enzymes involved in cell wall peptidoglycan synthesis and resistance to β-lactam antibiotics. To pursue this further, he was awarded the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Dr. Lamichhane was awarded three United States patents on antibacterials between 2016 and 2019. He also serves as the Director for the Taskforce for Resistance Emergence and Antibacterial Technology, a consortium of 16 laboratories around the world.

Johan H. Melendez, PhD, MS

Dr. Melendez is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. For over 15 years, he has been involved in the development and translation of novel molecular approaches for characterization of bacterial pathogens, with an emphasis on AMR organisms causing sexually transmitted infections. His research combines clinical, microbiological, genomic, and molecular strategies to conduct epidemiological, basic, and translational research aimed at decreasing morbidity associated with sexually transmitted infections – especially drug resistant ones. Through NIH-funding, he is currently studying the epidemiology of AMR Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections in Uganda by understanding the role of commensal Neisseria species in the development of AMR N. gonorrhoeae while increasing capacity building for the development of AMR diagnostics for sexually transmitted infections.

Matthew L. Robinson, MD

Dr. Robinson is an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on strategies to identify patients at greatest risk for drug-resistant bacterial infections to guide rational antibiotic decision-making. As a Fogarty Global Health Fellow, he worked in India to characterize the etiology of fever and burden of antimicrobial resistance among hospitalized patients with acute febrile illness. He found that drug-resistant bacterial infections were common and that almost every patient received broad-spectrum antibiotics including those with non-bacterial infections. His work in several Indian cohorts has identified a 20-fold higher prevalence of carbapenem-resistant organisms among Gram-negative bloodstream infections in India than reported in the US. Dr. Robinson is identifying risk factors for drug-resistant Gram-negative bloodstream infections in neonates and tracing their origin which involves prospectively performing >10,000 swabs of mothers, neonates, and the environment in a multisite cohort in India supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Clare Rock, MD, MS

Dr. Clare Rock is an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Rock’s research interest focuses on prevention of AMR bacteria and other pathogen transmission in the hospital environment. This includes novel strategies of improving patient room cleaning and disinfection, including conducting large clinical trials to examine effectiveness of novel technologies such as UV-C light to interrupt transmission of AMR pathogens between hospitalized patients. Dr. Rock is the Principal Investigator of a large CDC grant focused on the prevention of Clostridiodes difficile in hospitalized patients. She is an elected councilor on the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) board of trustees, past Chair of SHEA Research Network, and research co-director of the High Value Practice Academic Alliance.

Steven Salzberg, Ph.D.

Dr. Salzberg is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University, where he is also the Director of the Center for Computational Biology. Since the 1990s, his lab has developed many innovative computational methods for genome sequence analysis, ranging from bacterial gene finders to genome assemblers to next-generation alignment programs. His work is critical to uncovering novel bacterial mutations contributing to AMR.  While at The Institute for Genomic Research in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he contributed to the original genome projects for many human pathogens, including those that cause Lyme disease, tuberculosis, cholera, and malaria. Dr. Salzberg has authored or co-authored over 300 scientific publications that have garnered over 200,000 citations, and his h-index is 142. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology, and a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Library of Medicine at NIH.

Patricia J. Simner, Ph.D.

Dr. Simner is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Johns Hopkins University and the Director of the Medical Bacteriology and Infectious Disease Sequencing Laboratories at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Throughout her career, her research has focused on understanding the epidemiology and molecular mechanisms of resistance of Gram-negative bacteria, in particular those harboring β-lactamase enzymes. With the increasing prevalence of carbapenemase-producing organisms over the last 10 years, her focus has evolved to studying novel diagnostic methods for the detection of these clinically important pathogens and understanding their mechanisms of resistance and spread in the hospital setting. She has led a number of research studies to evaluate, develop, and implement novel molecular diagnostic tools such as matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, polymerase chain reaction electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and metagenomic next-generation sequencing on clinical specimens. Furthermore, Dr. Simner is actively involved in many professional societies. She is a Voting Member for the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute’s Subcommittee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing, a Member of the College of American Pathologists Microbiology Committee, the Early Career At-Large Representative for the American Society for Microbiology Council on Microbial Sciences, and a Committee Member of the NIH-funded Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group Diagnostics Committee. She is also an Editor for the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, and a Section Editor for the Manual of Clinical Microbiology (13th Edition), and Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook (5th Edition).

Winston Timp, PhD

Dr. Timp is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on the development and application of sequencing technologies to gain a deeper understanding of biology and a more accurate set of clinical tools for human disease. His work integrates the principles of biophysics, molecular biology, and computational biology to create new tools for exploring the epigenome and genome of various lifeforms. Recently, he has been working on applying cutting-edge molecular characterization tools to rapid and accurate diagnosis of infectious disease, from fungal to bacterial to viral pathogens. By generating advanced tools for characterization of pathogens, his work enables tailored and personalized therapies to infections, combating the spread of antimicrobial resistance and tracing the path of outbreaks.