School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

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Linda Hazlett
Department Chair
(313) 577-1061 (Departmental Office)
(313) 577-1079 (Laboratory Office)

Dr. Hazlett's research is focused on the host immune response to the gram negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa). The ubiquitous bacterium is an opportunistic pathogen noted both for its ability to cause disease in particularly susceptible or compromised individuals and its ever increasing resistance to antibiotics. Extremely common in soil and water, it is also responsible for many serious, often fatal, human infections, including upper respiratory tract colonization in cystic fibrosis patients, and in ocular infections, particularly due to injury in battle and in contact lens usage, where blindness can be the outcome. With contact lens use at an all time high, such sight-threatening infections are becoming increasingly widespread and range from purulent conjunctivitis to iridocyclitis, keratitis and iritis, corneal ulcer, and panophthalmitis. In fact, of the 30,000,000 daily-wear contact lens users worldwide, one in every 2,500 will suffer pseudomonal infection; the odds increase by a factor of five or one in every 500 for those using extended-wear or overnight lenses. The long-term objective of her studies is to reveal basic pathophysiological mechanisms of disease in the P. aeruginosa infected cornea. Her studies directly address a major objective of the current Corneal Diseases Program (National Plan for Eye and Vision Research) which parenthetically states, to investigate corneal infectious processes and immunological responses and to develop treatments to reduce keratitis and prevent blindness. Her studies integrate cellular and molecular biology and immunology and continue to elucidate novel targets in the immune response that will impact clinical care of patients with P. aeruginosa keratitis. She has filed a provisional patent in 2015 for a small molecule that blocks high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), a member of a family of molecules called alarmins. Treatment decreases neutrophil infiltrate and significantly decreases bacterial burden in the infected cornea, while elevating corneal anti-microbial peptides.

Dr. Hazlett has oversight of four course-directors who provide leadership for Year I medical student teaching (56% of Year I medical student teaching) and 2 graduate course directors. She meets with them as a group to assess teaching progress, course development, planning, teaching assignments and faculty performance. She also provides mentorship to junior as well as senior faculty in her department, with particular emphasis on grant writing and editing.

 Research Educator, Full time, PhD

Awards & Honors

    1. Distinguished Professor (2008-present) Wayne State University
    2. Awarded NEI Core Center Vision (P30EY04068) grant (2014-2019; $2.5 million total costs)
    3. R01 EY016056 funded (2013-2017), “Role of HMGB1 in Bacterial Keratitis”
    4. AEVR-NAEVR Board (2015-2018)
    5. Editorial Board Member-Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (2002-present)
    6. Member, Academy of Scholars, Wayne State University (2002-present)
    7. ARVO Fellow: Gold medal level (2009)
    8. Alcon Research Award (2012)
    9. Associate Editor, 2015-present Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics




Selected Publications

  1. Sharon A. McClellan, Ronald P. Barrett, Yunfan Zhang, Linda D. Hazlett. Substance P exacerbates P. aeruginosa keratitis in resistant BALB/c mice. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 49:1502-1511, 2008. 
  2. Szliter, E., Lighvani, S., Barrett, R.P., and Hazlett, L.D. VIP balances pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in the P. aeruginosa infected cornea and protects against corneal perforation. J. Immunol., 178:1105-1114, 2007.
  3. Wu, M., McClellan, S. A., Barrett, R. P., and Hazlett, L.D. Beta-defensin 2 promotes resistance against infection with P. aeruginosa. J. Immunol., 182:1609-1616, 2009. 
  4. Hazlett, L. D., Q. Li, J. Liu, S. McClellan, W. Du, and R. Barrett. NKT cells are critical to initiate an inflammatory response after Pseudomonas aeruginosa ocular infection in susceptible mice. J. Immunol. 179:1138-1146, 2007. 
  5. Hazlett, L.D.: The Corneal Response to Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, 23(1):1-30, 2004 Review article).

    Pub Med