Featured Researcher: Kiyoko Takemiya

Kiyoko Takemiya, MD, PhD

Kiyoko Takemiya, MD, PhD (Emory University Division of Cardiology) joined Emory from Kurume University in Japan. She recently received an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant to support her research on the detection of bacterial infections associated with medical devices. Currently, the diagnosis of device infection is made based on symptoms or clinical signs, and when it is diagnosed, the infection has already expanded and damaged the surrounding tissue. Dr. Takemiya’s work aims to detect infection in the very early stages with no clinical signs or symptoms, which will help to improve the prognosis of patients and to reduce unnecessary surgeries.

To detect small amount of bacteria, Dr. Takemiya’s team focused on the differences in sugar metabolism between bacteria and mammalian cells. Maltodextrin, a kind of sugar, is used by bacteria as a major energy source through the “maltodextrin transporter,” but cannot be internalized by mammalian cells. The maltodextrin transporter is large enough to pass an imaging probe conjugated with maltodextrin or its analogue, leading to accumulation in bacteria, and allowing sensitive and specific detection of bacteria. Dr. Takemiya uses rat models to test these maltodextrin and maltodextrin analogue-based imaging probes for near infrared imaging and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to detect the existence of bacteria. In her free time, Dr. Takemiya enjoys cooking, reading, playing with jigsaw puzzles, and crafting.

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About the Author

Emory Department of Medicine
Emory Department of Medicine

The Emory University Department of Medicine, within the Emory University School of Medicine, is steeped in a rich tradition of excellence. Through the work of its nine divisions and numerous centers and institutes, the department has pioneered discoveries in medicine, education, scientific and clinical investigation, and clinical care. Emory University School of Medicine’s medical school, residency, transitional-year, and fellowship programs offer students the latest knowledge in treatment practices, scientific theories, research, and patient care.

The Emory University Department of Medicine is a component of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University, which includes the Emory schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare.

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