Florian Mayr, MD, MPH, Receives K23 Award from NIGMS

Florian Mayr, MD, MPH, a CRISMA Translational and Clinical Science program faculty member, has been awarded a K23 grant by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The project, entitled ‘A precision medicine framework to improve long-term outcomes in Sepsis Survivors,’ aims to identify distinct phenotypes of sepsis survivors who are at high risk for adverse outcomes at six months and then to subsequently develop and test tailored interventions for this high-risk group of sepsis survivors.

“This project is important for public health because sepsis is a life-threatening infection that affects 30 million people worldwide each year,” said Dr. Mayr, who is an Assistant Professor of Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Critical Care Medicine, and is an attending at the VA Pittsburgh Health System. He added that, “Long-term outcomes for patients who survive a hospital admission for sepsis are poor, with many patients going on to develop new disabilities or worsening of preexisting health conditions.”

Dr. Mayr’s research study deviates from the current ‘one-size fits all’ approach by attempting to create a framework for personalized interventions. It has potentially groundbreaking implications for the future treatment of sepsis survivors.

He explained that there are two important first steps for developing personalized interventions to improve long-term outcomes: first, to identify sepsis survivors at risk for infections, and second, to understand predisposing factors.

The goal of his K23 research study is to develop innovative targeted interventions to improve long-term outcomes after sepsis. Dr. Mayr will do this by identifying subgroups of sepsis survivors (phenotypes) at high risk for infection-related hospital readmissions and deaths. These clinical phenotypes likely have distinct pathophysiologic mechanisms (e.g., immunosuppression), predispose to different outcomes (e.g., recurrent infections), and patients with the same phenotype may respond similarly to targeted interventions such as immunomodulation.
The research plan is augmented by expert mentoring and rigorous didactic training that will provide Dr. Mayr with essential career development skills in the science of precision medicine, including machine learning methodologies, Bayesian statistics, and innovative clinical trial design.

Dr. Mayr received his medical degree from the University of Vienna. He later completed both a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Critical Care Medicine at UPMC.

The Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) offered by NIGMS supports the development of outstanding academic physician-scientists. The K23 award is granted to clinically trained professionals who have the commitment and potential to develop into productive, independent investigators.