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Director, Penn State Sepsis and Critical Illness Research Center

Board-certified in Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, American Board of Anesthesiology

Board-certified in Advanced Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiography, National Board of Echocardiography


Research interests

Dr. Anthony Bonavia, a board-certified anesthesiologist and surgical intensive care specialist, spearheads a research program dedicated to the development of innovative diagnostic tools for sepsis. His laboratory has received consistent support from the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine since 2015 and supplementary backing from the National Institutes of Health starting in 2020.

The Bonavia laboratory adopts an innovative blend of immunological and machine learning methodologies, integrating blood biomarkers with extensive clinical datasets from septic, critically ill patients. The main objective is to devise high-precision models capable of diagnosing sepsis earlier than traditional models, thereby facilitating clinical intervention to potentially improve patient outcomes.

The laboratory is currently focused on several key projects:

  1. Immune Phenotyping as a Strategy to Elucidate Different Sepsis Endotypes: This project uses functional immune profiling, rather than conventional serum biomarker analysis, to quantify subclinical immune dysfunction in septic patients. The laboratory utilizes an assortment of assays to examine both innate and adaptive immune dysfunction, thus more precisely placing a patient on the hyperinflammatory-hypoinflammatory spectrum.
  2. Utilizing SOFA Score for Earlier Sepsis Detection and Reliable Mortality Prediction: According to the Sepsis-3 criteria, sepsis is defined as infection complicated by a dysregulated host immune response leading to organ dysfunction. The laboratory is employing computational approaches and large datasets to develop novel, sensitive methods for early sepsis diagnosis and the utilization of SOFA as a sepsis prognosticator.
  3. Examining the Impact of Low Muscle Mass and Muscle Dysfunction on Long-term Outcomes Following Sepsis: A significant portion of sepsis-related morbidity manifests in the days to weeks following the resolution of acute sepsis, including cognitive, renal and metabolic dysfunction. The laboratory conducts comprehensive retrospective and prospective analyses to identify catabolism and loss of muscle post-sepsis, and then links this data to changes in muscle at the molecular level.

Teaching and educational interests

Dr. Bonavia's research goals extend beyond his laboratory. He fosters a collaborative and dynamic educational environment, as demonstrated by his establishment of the Penn State Sepsis and Critical Illness Research Center (SCIRC), where he currently serves as director. The SCIRC aims to enable efficient, collaborative research approaches based on shared genomic, flow cytometric and clinical data. This multidisciplinary initiative comprises sepsis specialists with diverse expertise in fields such as statistics, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology, and critical care medicine. While the sepsis biorepositories form the material core of the SCIRC, the consortium's specialist members enrich the endeavor with their wide-ranging expertise.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Critical Care Medicine, Fellowship, Duke University Medical Center

… → 2014

Anesthesiology, Residency, Cleveland Clinic

… → 2013

MD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

… → 2009

BA (Hons), New York University

… → 2001


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