Welcome to the Drew Schwartz lab

Our goal is to deliver personalized gut microbiome-based risk assessment and antibiotic stewardship for pediatric sepsis. 

Bacterial infections are a leading cause of infant death worldwide. Preterm infants hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) are the most susceptible to bacterial infections because of underdeveloped skin and gut barriers and other immature organ systems. Because bacterial infection affects up to 40% of preterm infants, antibiotics are frequently given for suspected or confirmed infection. When infants show signs of infection (sepsis), their blood is cultured to look for bacteria, and they are started on antibiotics. While awaiting results, infants are treated with antibiotics targeted at common causes of bloodstream infection, but this approach has negative consequences:

  • Many bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to being killed by the chosen antibiotics.
  • When antibiotics are given unnecessarily when no bacteria grow in culture, antibiotics are associated with increased likelihood of death.
  • Antibiotics disrupt the normal development of the infant gut microbiome and immune system and increase the abundance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and risk of further episodes of sepsis.
Cyclical figure numbered one through six with the following ordered text: Clinical experience, multi-omics of human cohort, computational modeling connecting omics data to outcomes, mechanistic animal models, biomarkers and improved diagnostics, personalized microbiome risk assessments and antibiotic stewardship.

Our lab aims to understand the microbiome-host interface preceding sepsis to lead to better diagnostics and treatments. We use a combination of microbial sequencing and culturing, immune profiling and computational modeling of clinical cohorts and gnotobiotic mouse models to produce algorithms that predict sepsis risk and optimal antibiotic therapies. We hope to translate these findings to clinical populations to reduce morbidity and mortality from serious bacterial infections in pediatric populations.


Learn more about our research…

Welcome, CSB rotation student Lindsey Hall! (Links to an external site)

Welcome, CSB rotation student Lindsey Hall!
Lindsey grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a current CSB Rotation student at Washington University in St. Louis. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 2020 with a BS in Computational Biology. She developed a passion for microbiology during her ORISE Fellowship at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where she conducted genomic analyses of antibiotic resistance trends and bacterial epidemiology to investigate possible sources of nosocomial transmission and emerging infectious disease threats. Outside of research, Lindsey enjoys hiking with her dog and playing board games.

Welcome, Lingxia Zhao! (Links to an external site)

Welcome, Lingxia Zhao!
Lingxia Zhao grew up in Heibei, China and earned her B.A. while working in an analytical chemistry lab in Beijing. She has extensive work experience in analytical chemistry and molecular biology research at both Washington University and NewLeaf Symbiotics. With her time outside of the lab, she enjoys gardening, fishing, and going on walks with her family.