Faculty Highlight – Dr. Peter Iwen teaches foundational clinical microbiology to a variety of students. Within the College of Medicine, he teaches medical mycology lectures, co-coordinates the microbiology wet-labs, and participates in problem-based learning and small group sessions. He also provides didactic lectures on clinical microbiology to the PharmD students and resident pathologists, and to graduate students within the College of Public Health (COPH). In addition, Dr. Iwen coordinates microbiology instruction for the resident pathologists and co-directs with Dr. Steven Hinrichs a certified post-doctoral training program for clinical microbiology fellows. As the biosafety officer for both UNMC and UNO, Dr. Iwen also coordinates the biosafety training program for research personnel working with biohazardous agents.
Research activities in Dr. Iwen’s lab include the development and optimization of molecular assays for the identification of microbial pathogens, with an emphasis on fungi and bacteria (including the Mycobacterium species). Original work in his laboratory showed that the internal transcribed spacer region within the rDNA complex was a useful target for identifying both common and uncommon fungal and mycobacterial species. Subsequent work has continued on providing sequences of a wide variety of microbial species and using this information in collaboration with bioinformatics researchers to develop curated databases that can be used with different molecular platforms for identification purposes.
Locally, Dr. Iwen has been involved in many instructional programs for laboratory personnel as an extension of his association with the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory. He also participates in the Annual Preparedness Symposia presented throughout the state in collaboration with the Center for Preparedness Education, a joint endeavor between the UNMC COPH and Creighton University School of Medicine. Nationally, Dr. Iwen is involved with several committees within the Association of Public Health Laboratories to help train laboratorians within Nebraska and throughout the United States and the world.
Dr. Iwen’s non-professional community involvement includes activities with local junior high and high schools, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Salvation Army. Peter Iwen, PhD, D(ABMM), is a professor in the UNMC College of Medicine Department of Pathology and Microbiology, and in the UNMC COPH Department of Epidemiology.