Patricia Ferrieri, MD

Professor and Chairman's Fund Professorship in Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Department of Pediatrics

Patricia Ferrieri

Contact Info

ferri002@umn.edu

Office Phone 612-624-1948

Fax 612-624-8927

Office Address:
Pediatrics
810 Mayo
420 Delaware St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Mailing Address:
Pediatric Lab Medicine
MMC 134 Mayo
8134A (Campus Delivery Code)
420 Delaware St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor and Chairman's Fund Professorship in Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Department of Pediatrics

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology


Pediatric Epidemiologist


MD, University of Pittsburgh

Residency in Pediatrics, University of Minnesota

Fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, University of Minnesota

Summary

Dr. Patricia Ferrieri's laboratory is focused on the pathogenesis of infections with group B streptococci (GBS) and host immunity to streptococcal antigens. These investigations have included the epidemiology of maternal and neonatal colonization and infection with GBS, animal models of neonatal sepsis and meningitis, isolation and biochemical and immunological characterization of key antigens of group B streptococci, and human and animal immune responses to these antigens, including the role of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies in protection against infection. Her laboratory has cloned the gene for a key surface localized protein (glutamine synthetase) of GBS into E. coli, and has used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology and nucleotide sequencing and amino acid sequencing of this GBS protein to enhance the research.

Awards & Recognition

  • Mpls.St. Paul Magazine Top Doctors (2013-2015)
  • Best Doctors in America® (2011-2012, 2013)

Research

Research Summary/Interests

In recent years, Ferrieri has focused her research principally on group B Streptococcus, antigens involved in immunity, and vaccine development aimed at prevention of group B Streptococcus infection in newborns. Group B strep, which babies can acquire as they pass through the maternal birth canal, puts them at risk for sepsis and meningitis and can be fatal. Ferrieri’s research group collaborated in a five-year, NIH funded study with colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh and Baylor College of Medicine that involved giving experimental group B strep vaccine to non-pregnant women. Her laboratory was responsible for molecular characterization of the group B strep strains of study subjects in advance of their receiving the vaccine and then at specific intervals during the course of the study. Results from the study suggest that the vaccine prevented study subjects from acquiring the type of group B strep that was present in the vaccine. Non-pregnant women who received placebo were less protected. Ferrieri and her colleagues are now correlating the results from antibody analysis with the results of from the molecular analysis of the different group B strep strains. One of the questions the study can help answer is whether bacterial colonization or vaccine-produced antibodies is the primary endpoint for optimal protection. The study could have a major impact for maternal and infant public health globally as well as for the elderly, diabetics, and other populations at risk for group B strep infection. Since the 1990s pregnant women in the U.S. have been tested for group B strep, typically at 35-37 weeks of gestation. Ferrieri introduced a molecular PCR-based assay in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, which is now used to test pregnant women in the later stages of pregnancy. The test is more sensitive that the standard group B strep culture for detecting infection.

Ferrieri’s laboratory is also studying Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and its role in causing otitis media, an infection of the middle ear that can lead to hearing loss in affected children. In an NIH-R01 funded collaboration with colleagues at the U of MN and the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Ferrieri has been investigating protective protein antigens from pneumococcus in otitis media found in the chinchilla, whose ear anatomy mimics closely that of the human ear. The research is designed to contribute to the goal of developing a vaccine that would prevent middle-ear and other pneumococcal infections in young children. Ferrieri and her collaborators are working to extend their findings at the molecular level to shed light on the individual protein-antigen components that could serve as the basis for a universally protective vaccine. Current vaccines can prevent otitis media and other pneumococcus-cased conditions in only about one-fourth of children who receive them. Ferrieri has a career-long view that protein antigens are critical for establishing immunity against various encapsulated bacteria – bacteria that have a polysaccharide coating. Vaccine designs that conjugate polysaccharide antigens with protein antigens may elicit a superior immune response, chiefly through memory B cells.

In a controlled trial involving an investigational pneumococcal vaccine and placebo, investigators including Ferrieri (the PI) looked at the immune response in pregnant women both before and after they had given birth, as well as the immune response in their newborns. The newborns from mothers who had received the vaccine while pregnant actually had lower antibody levels than babies born to the mothers who had received placebo, which raises the issue of fetal immune tolerance during pregnancy.

In the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, Ferrieri’s team is developing, validating and introducing cutting-edge molecular diagnostic assays to permit rapid detection of pathogens for both in-patients and out-patients of all age groups, leading to improved treatment. New molecular platforms Ferrieri has introduced into the laboratory, in addition to the group B strep PCR assay, performed late in pregnancy, include MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, which allows rapid identification of bacteria of various complexity as well as yeast and fungi, with a major impact on patient care. Another highly sophisticated test with an impact on patient care and hospital length-of-stays is a nucleic acid microarray assay. The test can be used directly on positive blood cultures of both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, with 95-100 percent sensitivity and specificity and with results available in a few hours.

Publications

  • Barnes AMT, Crespo-Diaz RJ, Cohenour J, Kirsch JD, Arbefeville S, Ferrieri P. A Noninvasive Rhizopus Infection With a Bladder Fungal Ball in a Patient With Poorly Controlled Diabetes Mellitus. Lab Med. 2017 Oct 23. doi: 10.1093/labmed/lmx060. [Epub ahead of print] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29069422#
  • Arbefeville S, Thonen-Kerr E, Ferrieri P. Prospective and Retrospective Evaluation of the Performance of the FDA-Approved Cepheid Xpert Flu/RSV XC Assay. Lab Med. 2017 Sep 29. doi: 10.1093/labmed/lmx038. [Epub ahead of print] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29036487#
  • Arbefeville S, Harris A, Ferrieri P. Comparison of sequencing the D2 region of the large subunit ribosomal RNA gene (MicroSEQ®) versus the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions using two public databases for identification of common and uncommon clinically relevant fungal species. J Microbiol Methods.2017Sep;140:40-46. doi:10.1016/j.mimet.2017.06.015.Epub2017Jun21. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167701217301653
  • Teatero S, Ferrieri P, Martin I, Demczuk W, McGeer A, Fittipaldi. Serotype Distribution, Population Structure, and Antimicrobial Resistance of Group B Streptococcus Strains Recovered from Colonized Pregnant Women. TN.J Clin Microbiol. 2017 Feb;55(2):412-422. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01615-16.PMID: 27852675
  • Teatero S, Ferrieri P, Fittipaldi N.  Serotype IV Sequence Type 468 Group B Streptococcus Neonatal Invasive Disease, Minnesota, USA.  Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 Nov;22(11):1937-1940. doi: 10.3201/eid2211.152031.PMID: 27767922 Free PMC Article
  • Arbefeville, S., Fickle, A.R., Ferrieri, P. Sensitivity of the Quidel Sofia Fluorescent Immunoassay Analyzer Compared with 2 Nucleic-Acid Assays and Viral Culture to Detect Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09.LabMedicine. 46(3):230-234, 2015.
  • Iroh Tam, P.-Y., Kline, S., Ward, G., Ferrieri, P. Nontuberculous mycobacterial infection in hospitalized children: a case series. Epidemiol Infect. 2015 Nov; 143(15):3173-3181. doi:10.1017/S0950268815000333 Epub 2015 Mar 12. PMID: 25762105.
  • Kaplan, A., Berntson, D.G., Ferrieri, P. Postpartum cryptococcal pulmonary lesion incidentally discovered during a pulmonary-embolism. Evaluation of a 28-year-old caucasian woman. LabMedicine. 46:69-73, 2015. 
  • Iroh Tam, P.-Y. Bernstein, E., Ma, X., Ferrieri, P. Blood culture for evaluation of pediatric community-acquired pneumonia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Hosp Pediatr, June 5 (6):324-336, 2015.
  • McAllister, S.C., Schleiss, M.R., Arbefeville, S., Steiner, M., Hanson, R.S., Pollack, K., Ferrieri, P. Epidemic 2014 Enterovirus D68 Cross-Reacts with Human Rhinovirus on a Respiratory Molecular Diagnostic Platform. PLOS ONE.10(3):e0118529, 2015.
  • Flores, A.E., Chhatwal, G.S., Hillier, S.L., Baker, C.J., Ferrieri, P. Expression of Group B Protective Surface Protein (BPS) by Invasive and Colonizing Isolates of Group B Streptococci. Curr Microbiol 69:894-898, 2014.
  • Daly, K.A., Giebink, G.S., Lindgren, B.R., Knox, J., Haggerty, B.J., Nordin, J., Goetz, S., Ferrieri, P. Maternal Immunization with Pneumococcal 9-valent Conjugate Vaccine and Early Infant Otitis Media. Vaccine
    32:6948-6955, 2014.
  • Ferrieri, P., Lynfield, R., Creti, R., Flores, A. Serotype IV and Invasive Group B Streptococcus Disease in Neonates, Minnesota, USA, 2000-2010. Emerging Infectious Diseases 19:551-558, 2013.

Clinical

Specialties

  • Pediatric infectious disease

Clinics

Pediatric Specialty Care-Discovery Clinic

Board Certifications

Board Certified in Pediatrics