Marion Skalweit, MD-PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry
Case Western Reserve University
Staff Physician, Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Dr. Skalweit (formerly Helfand) received a BS in Chemistry from CWRU in 1983, and a PhD in Chemistry in the laboratory of Nobelist Yuan T. Lee at the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. While at UC-Berkeley,she developed a tunable near UV picosecond light source and studied photodissocation dynamics of organic molecules. She then attended the CWRU School of Medicine, did a residency in Internal Medicine at MetroHealth Medical Center and an Infectious Diseases Fellowship at University Hospitals of Cleveland, completing this training in 2002. During her fellowship, she performed research in the laboratories of Drs. Robert Bonomo and Paul Carey where she applied the technique of Raman spectroscopy to study the structure-activity relationships in SHV beta-lactamases resistant to clinical beta-lactamase inhibitors. After receiving both a Department of Veterans Affairs Career Development Award and an NIH K08 award, she joined the faculty of the CWRU SOM and the staff of the Cleveland VA Medical Center as a board certified Infectious Diseases specialist. She continues to practice medicine and perform research in the area of antibiotic resistance with ongoing funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs and industry, and is the Director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic at the Cleveland VAMC.
My laboratory is interested in resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics and beta-lactamase inhibitors caused by a wide variety of beta-lactamase enzymes such as Class A beta-lactamases (SHV of Klebsiella pneumoniae; TEM of E. coli); Class C beta-lactamases (CMY-2 enzyme) and Class B metallo-beta-lactamases (VIM-2 of Pseudomonas aeruginosa). In addition, we are studying the basis of sulbactam as an antibiotic forAcinetobacter baumannii and the role of metallo-beta-lactamase like enzymes in biofilm formation by a variety of bacteria. We employ a variety of microbiologic, molecular biologic, epidemiologic and biophysical methods to study resistance phenomena where they occur in the hospital and the laboratory.
Why Dr. Skalweit chose MD-PhD:
Initially, I was very attracted to the application of physical methods to biological problems and chose to divide my training into a rigorous physical sciences PhD, followed by the traditional medical school pathway at a later time. I have never regretted this route, although it was long and arduous! The MD-PhD allows one to interact closely with patients and to use important clinical observations to inform one's research. Conversely, one's research influences one's clinical practice--causing physicians to press on to find new ways of diagnosing and treating complex diseases.
Why the MSTP women’s group is so important:
The MSTP women's group is a tremendous opportunity to allow our students to interact with successful women faculty, especially those who actively practice medicine, conduct research and engage in the academic life of our university and in the greater biomedical science community. It is also a way for students to find mentoring from faculty and from peers in a supportive and non-threatening environment; to develop lifelong friends and colleagues; and to address issues unique to women in medicine and biomedical sciences.