David A. Hunstad, MD ’95, HS ’03
David A. Hunstad, MD ’95, HS ’03, professor of pediatrics and of molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine, is recognized for his research on pediatric urinary tract infections, his leadership within the Department of Pediatrics, and his reputation as a caring and skillful physician.
Hunstad focuses on interactions between pathogens and their hosts, using E. coli that infect the urinary tract as an example. Early on, he studied proteins that distinguish uropathogenic E. coli from other strains, showing that they promote adhesion to host tissue, enable urinary tract infections (UTIs) to persist, and stop immune cells from getting across the bladder wall. This work led to novel methods for delivering medications to the bladder wall and for shedding infected bladder cells.
More recently, Hunstad developed a new mouse model of UTI that can be applied to male as well as female mice, overcoming a long-standing technical obstacle in the UTI field. Surprisingly, this work showed that androgens such as testosterone enhance susceptibility to UTIs, increase their severity, and promote renal scarring.
Hunstad’s broad knowledge of pediatrics and infectious diseases and clinical acumen have made him a resource for physicians facing difficult diagnoses. He has shown his strong commitment to future generations of academic pediatrician-scientists by co-founding the Pediatric Physician-Scientist Training Program. Since becoming chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in 2015, he has displayed remarkable vision about the future of pediatric research and has increased the division’s clinical volume by retaining outstanding clinician educators. The division has received the St. Louis Children’s Hospital House Staff Outstanding Division Teaching Award for the past three years, an unprecedented accomplishment.
Hunstad has represented Washington University on several national committees. He was also elected to the Society for Pediatric Research, the American Pediatric Society, and Alpha Omega Alpha.
Hunstad obtained a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, in 1991 and a medical degree from Washington University in 1995. After becoming a resident and then chief resident at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, he was a fellow in pediatric infectious diseases and molecular microbiology at Washington University from 2000 to 2003, when he joined the medical school’s faculty.
The Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association is pleased to present its Faculty Achievement Award to Dr. Hunstad.