Office: 207 Pavilion

Phone: 412-648-9629

Email: kme33@pitt.edu

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Dr. Kerry Empey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics and Center for Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences. She holds secondary appointments in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute and in the Department of Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh. As a clinician-scientist, Dr. Empey conducts NIH-funded clinical and translational research aimed at understanding critical immune targets involved in inefficient neonatal host immune responses to pulmonary infections with the primary goal of improving disease outcomes through immune modulating therapies.

She received her PharmD from the University of Rhode Island and completed PGY1 and PGY2 residencies in Pharmacy Practice and Infectious Diseases at the University of Kentucky. She earned a PhD in Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Kentucky before accepting a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh.

Current research interests include understanding the role of age-based factors on host immune responses to pulmonary infections that are prominent in the infant and childhood populations. At the graduate level, Dr. Empey coordinates Clinical Pharmacy Environments, a unique, hands-on experience designed to introduce pharmacy-based clinical research to graduate-level students. Within the PharmD curriculum, she teaches pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, immunology, and co-coordinates the Seminar Series designed to teach Pharmacy students how to prepare and present professional talks.

The Empey lab is devoted to understanding how age-based factors contribute to increased pulmonary infections in neonates and young children and how these factors can be targeted using immune therapy to improve infectious disease outcomes. Dr. Empey has developed a neonatal mouse model of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) to interrogate these age-based differences in host immunity and to test local immune modulating therapies. The Empey lab has focused on the role of interferon gamma, an endogenously produced anti-viral cytokine that is deficient in infants with severe RSV disease. Her lab has demonstrated that local delivery of this cytokine to RSV-infected neonatal mice expedites viral clearance and mitigates the accumulation of mucus and apoptotic cellular debris that, in human infants, contributes to airway occlusion.

The Empey Lab is also interested in understanding the role of viral infections during infancy in promoting the development of asthma or wheezing. RSV is associated with an increased risk of asthma or wheezing through adolescence and into adulthood. Dr. Empey's Lab is actively investigating how interferon gamma-mediated changes during primary infant infection reduce the progression to asthma or airway hyperresponsiveness in mouse models of RSV infection.

RSV vaccination is the best way to prevent severe RSV disease. In collaboration with Vaxine Ltd., the Empey Lab is actively working to test novel vaccine adjuvants to prevent RSV infection in neonates using their unique neonatal mouse model of RSV infection.

Good M, Kolls JK, Empey KM. Neonatal Pulmonary Host Defense Mechanisms. In: Fetal and Neonatal Physiology, 5th Ed. Chapter 130, Elsevier Ed. By Polin, Fox, Abman. 2016

Hendricks MR, Lashua LP, Fischer DK, Flitter BA, Eichinger KM, Durbin JE, Sarker SN, Coyne CB, Empey KM, Bomberger JM. Respiratory syncytial virus infection enhances Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm growth through dysregulation of nutritional immunity. PNAS. Jan 4, 2016.

Eichinger KM, Egaña L, Orend JG, Resetar E, Patel R, Empey KM. Alveolar macrophages support interferon gamma-mediated viral clearance in RSV-infected neonatal mice. 2015 Respir Research. 16:122.

Kling HM, Nau GJ, Ross TM, Evans TM, Chakraborty K, Empey KM, Flynn JL. Challenges and Future in Vaccines, Drug Development, and Immunomodulatory Therapy: Proceedings from the 2014 Pittsburgh Lung Conference. Journal of Am Thoracic Soc. (11) Supp 4; S201-10. 2014.

Michael A Smith, Maho Hibino, Bonnie Falcione, Katherine M Eichinger, Ravi Patel, Kerry M Empey. A review of the immunosuppressive aspects of analgesics and sedatives used in patients at risk for ventilator-associated pneumonia. Annals Pharmacother. 2014 Jan;48(1):77-85.PMID 24259637

Kerry M Empey, Jacob G Orend, R Stokes Peebles, Jr., Karen A Norris, Tim D Oury, and Jay K Kolls. Stimulation of immature lung macrophages with intranasal interferon gamma in a novel neonatal mouse model of respiratory syncytial virus. PLoS One. 2012; 7(7):e40499.Epub2012 Jul6. PMID:22792355

Cathryn Kurkjian, Melissa Hollifield, J. Louise Lines, Amy Rogosky, Kerry M. Empey, Mahboob Qureshi, Stephen A. Brown, and Beth A. Garvy. Alveolar macrophages in neonatal mice are inherently unresponsive to Pneumocystis infection. Spotlight article, Infect and Immun. June 4, 2012. PMID: 22665378

Kerry M Empey and Jay K Kolls. Neonatal Pulmonary Host Defense Mechanisms. In: Fetal and Neonatal Physiology, 4th Ed. Chapter 159, pg 1701. Elsevier Ed. By Polin, Fox, Abman. 2011

Samuel M. Poloyac PharmD, PhD; Kerry M. Empey PharmD, PhD; Lisa C. Rohan PhD; Sue J. Skledar RPh, MPH, FASHP; Phil E. Empey PharmD, PhD; Thomas D. Nolin PharmD, PhD; Robert R. Bies, PharmD, PhD; Robert B. Gibbs PhD; Maggie Folan RN, PhD; Patricia D. Kroboth, PhD. Core Competencies for Research Training in the Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. Am J Pharm Ed. 2011 March 10; 75 (2); 27.

Empey KM, Peebles RS, Kolls JK. Pharmacologic Advances in the Treatment and Prevention of Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Clin Infect Dis. 2010 May 1; 50(9):1258-67.

Empey KM, Hollifield M, Garvy BA. Exogenous heat-killed Escherichia coli improves alveolar macrophage activity and reduces Pneumocystis carinii lung burden in infant mice. Infect Immun. 2007;75(7):3382-93.

Martin C, Ofotokun I, Rapp R, Empey K, Armitstead J, Pomeroy C, Hoven A, Evans M. Results of an Antimicrobial Control Program at a University Hospital. AJHP. 2005; 62:732-8.

Qureshi MH, Empey KM, Garvy BA. Modulation of Pro-inflammatory Responses to Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. muris in Neonatal Mice by GM-CSF and IL-4: Role of Antigen Presenting Cells. Journal of Immunology. 2005 Jan 1;174(1):441-8.

Emepy KM, Hollifield M, Schuer K, Gigliotti F, Garvy BA. Passive Immunization of Neonatal Mice Against Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. muris Enhances Control of Infection Without Stimulating Inflammation. Infection and Immunity. 2004; 72(11): 6211-6220.

Rapp RP, Evans M, Martin C, Ofotokun I, Empey K, Armitstead JA. Drug Costs and Bacterial Susceptibility After Implementing A Single-Fluoroquinolone Use Policy At A University Hospital. Current Medical Research and Opinion. 2004; 20(4): 469-476.

Romanelli F, Empey KM, Pomeroy C. Macrocytosis as an indicator of medication (zidovudine) adherence in patients with HIV infection. AIDS Patient Care and STDs. 2002;16(9):405.

Empey KM, Rapp RP, Evans ME. The Effect of an Antimicrobial Formulary Change on Resistance Patterns at a University Hospital. Pharmacotherapy. 2002;22(1):81-87.

Rapp RP, Empey KM. Editorial: Antimicrobial Cycling. Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 10(35), 1289-90; 2001.

Sponsored Research Agreement Empey (PI) 9/1/2012 – 8/31/2015
Vaxine pty, ltd. Sydney, Australia
Maternal RSV vaccination of Balb/c mice using RSV F subunit and novel plant-derived adjuvant
The goal of this study is to determine the extent to which a novel adjuvant derived from natural sugar-containing compounds extracted from plants will improve the immunogenicity of neonates infected with RSV from mothers vaccinated against RSV plus Advax.
Empey KM, Ross T, Petrovsky N.

Central Medical Research Fund Empey (PI) 7/1/2012 – 5/31/2014
University of Pittsburgh, Office of Research
A novel approach to treating infant respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease: therapeutic stimulation of immature alveolar macrophages to enhance anti-viral activity.
The goal of this study is to determine the influence of alternatively versus classically activated macrophages in RSV disease severity in infant compared to adult mice.
Empey KM
Role: PI

Brenneman Scholars Award Empey (PI) 9/1/2013 – 8/31/2015
University of Pittsburgh, School of Pharmacy
In support of research to advance the science of making medicine work for people.
Empey KM
Role: PI

COMPLETED RESEARCH SUPPORT

KL2 RR024154-05 Empey (PI) 7/1/2010-6/30/2013
Intranasal delivery of INFγ in a neonatal mouse model of infant RSV disease.
The goal of this study is to determine an effective delivery method of to elicit efficient activation of infant alveolar macrophages in an infant model of RSV infection. (Renewal)
Empey KM, Ross T, Clancey N, Kolls JK
Role: PI

KL2 RR024154-05 Empey (PI) 7/1/2008-6/30/2010
Intranasal delivery of INFγ in a neonatal mouse model of infant RSV disease.
The goal of this study is to determine an effective delivery method of to elicit efficient activation of infant alveolar macrophages in an infant model of RSV infection.
Empey KM, Ross T, Norris KA, Clancey N, Kolls JK
Role: PI

Central Research Development Fund Empey (PI) 7/1/2008 – 6/30/2010
“Development of an RSV-infected infant mouse model” University of Pittsburgh Small Grants award
The goal of this study was to determine if recombinant IFNγ augmented viral clearance and mediated infant mouse alveolar macrophage activation.
Empey KM
Role: PI

American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education Empey (PI) 9/1/2005 – 8/31/2007
Endowed Pre-doctoral Fellowship
The goal of this award was to translate my lab-based findings relating infant macrophage activation with GM-CSF during Pneumocystis infection to human infants by isolating infant lung macrophages in infant tracheal aspirates.
Empey KM
Role: PI

K30 HL004163 Empey (PI) 9/1/2004 – 8/31/2006
University of Kentucky Clinical Research and Leadership Development Program (K30)
Immunomodulation to Improve Pneuomcystis Clearance in Neonatal Mice.
The goal of this award was to test GM-CSF as an immunomodulatory therapy in an infant mouse model of Pneumocystis infection.
Empey KM and Robert Rapp
Role: PI

Animal-based Research: Making a difference for Society. PA Society for Biomedical Research, Invited Speaker; Pittsburgh PA, March 6, 2014

Understanding the role of IFNg in an infant mouse model of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Pittsburgh Lung Conference, Pittsburgh PA, October 18,2013.

Immune Modulation to Improve Neonatal RSV Infection. University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clincial Research Education. May, 2013.

Overcoming an Immature Situation: Immunotherapy in a Neonatal Mouse Model of RSV Infection. Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, PA, February 28, 2012.

Monoclonal Antibodies and Immune Modulation in RSV Disease. Session Title: An Update on Monoclonal and Antibody-Based Therapies. ICAAC, Chicago. Sept 19, 2011.

Immune modulation for the improvement of infectious disease outcomes. Kerry M Empey, PharmD, PhD, Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh, March, 2011.

Primary RSV infant mouse model for the advancement of vaccine research. Kerry M Empey, PharmD, PhD. Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh. May 2011

Center for Vaccine Research, University of Pittsburgh. Immune Enhancement Strategies for Fighting Infectious Diseases. Kerry M Empey, PharmD, PhD. Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, Center for Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Pittsburgh. February 2011

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Seminar Series. The Role of Infant Lung Macrophages in Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Kerry M Empey, PharmD, PhD. Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, Center for Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Pittsburgh. January 2011

Infectious Diseases Fellow’s Conference. “Immunomodulation to improve Pneumocystis clearance from pup lungs.” Lexington, KY Kerry M. Empey, Pharm.D., Ph.D. Aril 2007

Infectious Diseases Chalk Talk. “The use of GM-CSF to fight neonatal pulmonary infections.” Lexington, KY Kerry M Empey, Pharm.D. July 2006

Autumn Immunology Conference. “The role of Neonatal Alveolar Macrophages against Pneumocystis pneumonia.” Chicago, IL Kerry M Empey, Pharm.D. November 2004

BIRCWH, K-30, COBRE Spring Retreat (platform presentation). “Immunomodulation to Improve Pneumocystis Clearance in Neonatal Mice.” Nicholasville, KY Kerry M Empey, Pharm.D. April 2004

University of Kentucky, College of Pharmacy Weekly Seminar Series (platform presentation to faculty and students). “Improving Pneumocystis Clearance Through Immunomodulation.” Lexington, KY Kerry M Empey, Pharm.D. April 2004

Autumn Immunology Conference. “Immunomodulation to Improve Pneumocystisi Clearance in Neonatal Mice.” Chicago, IL Kerry M Empey, Pharm.D. November 2003

40th Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “Results of a Four-Year Effort to Control the Use of Antimicrobial Agents at a University-Affiliated Hospital.” Ofotokun I, Rapp RP, Empey KM, Martin C, Armitstead J, Pomeroy C, Evans M. Oct 2002. Platform presentation.

University of Kentucky, Pediatric Pharmacy Department, Lexington KY. “Community-Acquired Pneumonia in Children.” Kerry M. Empey, Pharm.D., Platform presentation May 2001

Southeastern Residency Conference, Athens GA. “Antimicrobial Formulary Changes; The Effect on Resistance Patterns in a University Hospital.” Kerry M. Empey, Pharm.D., Robert P. Rapp, Pharm.D., FCCP. Platform presentation. April 2001

Infectious Disease Fellowship Forum, Chicago IL
Research presentation: Antimicrobial Formulary Changes; The Effect on Resistance Patterns in A University-Based Hospital. March 2001

Clinical Research Discussion Group
Summarized research presentation: Antimicrobial Formulary Changes; The Effect on Resistance Patterns in A University-Based Hospital
University of Kentucky, College of Pharmacy March 2001

University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington KY. “Coxsackie Disease and Myocarditis” Kerry McGarr Empey, Pharm.D. Platform Presentation. January 2001

2000 Annual Resource Management Conference, Chicago, IL. “Antimicrobial Resistance: Understanding Therapeutic Choices” Kerry McGarr Empey, Pharm.D. Slide Presentation. November 2000

2000 Advances in Pharmacy Practice Annual Fall Conference, Lexington KY. “New Antimicrobial Agents” Kerry L. McGarr, Pharm.D. Slide Presentation. October 2000

University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington KY. “Case Report: Vancomycin Failure in a Patient With MRSA Osteomyelitis” Kerry McGarr Empey, Pharm.D. Platform Presentation. October 2000

University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington KY. “Gemifloxacin; A Novel Fluorquinolone With Improved Anti-Gram-Positive Activity” Kerry McGarr, Pharm.D. Platform Presentation. August 2000

Kentucky Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists, Lexington KY. “The Association Between Zidovudine Therapy and Macrocytosis at a University Hospital Outpatient Clinic” Kerry L. McGarr, Pharm.D., Frank Romanelli, Pharm.D., Claire Pomeroy, M.D. Poster presentation. May 2000

American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Monterey CA. “The Association Between Zidovudine Therapy and Macrocytosis at a University Hospital Outpatient Clinic” Kerry L. McGarr, Pharm.D., Frank Romanelli, Pharm.D., Claire Pomeroy, M.D. Poster presentation. April 2000

University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington, KY. “AZT-Induced Macrocytosis; A Retrospective Chart Review” Kerry L. McGarr, Pharm.D., Frank Romanelli, Pharm.D., Claire Pomeroy, M.D. Slide Presentation. April 2000

Pharmacy Residency Southeastern Conference, Atlanta, GA. “The Incidence of AZT-induced Macrocytosis at a University Hospital Outpatient Clinic” Kerry L. McGarr, Pharm.D., Frank Romanelli, Pharm.D., Claire Pomeroy, M.D. Slide Presentation. April 2000

University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington, KY. "Pharmacological Management of Cancer Pain" Kerry McGarr, Pharm.D. Platform Presentation. January 2000

University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington, KY. "Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone" Kerry McGarr, Pharm.D. Platform Presentation. January 2000

University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington, KY. "Fever in the Critically Ill" Kerry McGarr, Pharm.D. Platform Presentation. November 1999

University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington, KY. "Strongyloides Case Report" Kerry McGarr, Pharm.D. Platform Presentation. August 1999

Coastal Medical Center, Providence, RI. “HIV/AIDS Antiretroviral Resistance” Kerry McGarr, Pharm.D. Platform Presentation. November 1998

Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, RI. “Management of Chemotherapy-induced Emesis in Childhood Cancer.” Slide Presentation. October 1998

University of Rhode Island, Providence, RI. Point-Counterpoint Debate: “Statin Use in the Normal Population.” Kerry McGarr, Pharm.D. September 1998

Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI. “Herceptin: A New Agent in the Fight Against Breast Cancer.” Kerry McGarr, Pharm.D. Slide Presentation. July 1998

University of Rhode Island, Providence, RI. “Clopidogrel: An Alternative Antiplatelet Agent.” Kerry McGarr, Pharm.D. Slide Presentation. March 1998

University of Rhode Island, Providence, RI. “Pharmacokinetics in Obesity.” Kerry McGarr, Pharm.D. Slide Presentation. December 1997

University of Rhode Island, Providence, RL. “Point-Counterpoint Debate: Hypercholesterolemia in the Elderly: Pharmacological Treatment Versus No Treatment.” November 1997




David and Betty Brenneman Fund. Making Medicines Work for People. 2013 – 2018. Principal Investigator for the University of Pittsburgh.

R03PA13-304. Immature infant alveolar macrophage clearance of cell debris during RSV infection. 2015-2017. Role: Principal Investigator for University of Pittsburgh award.
National Institutes of Health, NICHD

Central Medical Research Fund, University of Pittsburgh. A novel approach to treating infant respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease: therapeutic stimulation of immature alveolar macrophages to enhance anti-viral activity. 2013 – 2015. Role: Principal Investigator for University of Pittsburgh.

Vaxine pty ltd. Sydney, Australia. Maternal RSV vaccination of BALB/c mice using RSV F subunit and novel plant-derived adjuvant. 2012 – 2013

KL2 RR024154-05. Intranasal delivery of IFNγ in a neonatal mouse model of infant RSV disease. 2010 – 2013. Principal Investigator, University of Pittsburgh Competitive Renewal Award. National Institutes of Health, NCRR.

KL2 RR024154-05. Intranasal delivery of IFNγ in a neonatal mouse model of infant RSV disease. 2008 - 2013. Role: Principal Investigator for University of Pittsburgh Competitive Supplement. National Institutes of Health, NCRR.

Central Research Development Fund. Development of an RSV-infected infant mouse model. Principal Investigator, University of Pittsburgh Internal Award. 2008-2010.

KL2 RR024154-05. Intranasal delivery of IFNγ in a neonatal mouse model of infant RSV disease. Principal Investigator, University of Pittsburgh Award. 2008 – 2010.
National Institutes of Health, NCRR.

American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education. Response of Neonatal Alveolar Macrophages to Immunostimulation and Clearance of Pneumocystis Infection. Endowed Pre-doctoral Fellowship
Principal Investigator, University of Kentucky Award. 2005 – 2007.

K30 HL004163. Immunomodulation to Improve Pneumocystis Clearance in Neonatal Mice. Principal Investigator, University of Kentucky Award. 2004 – 2006.