• I have a broad background in microbiology, immunology, and medicine with residency training in clinical pathology and fellowship training in medical microbiology. I am the Director of the UAB Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, Fungal Reference Lab, and UAB’s High Containment Research Facility (SEBLAB) with significant expertise in the diagnosis of infectious diseases, medical mycology, and SARS-CoV-2 biology. My research interests are 4-fold and include 1. Expert laboratory support for a variety of Infectious Disease (ID) clinical trials,2. Evaluation of new commercial diagnostic tests seeking FDA approval, 3. Development of novel ID diagnostics, and 4. The mechanistic evaluation of host and microbial factors mediating the outcome of invasive mold infections in otherwise healthy hosts including: COVID-Associated 2° mold infections (CAPA/CAM), fungal keratitis, phaeohyphyomycosis, and dimorphic fungal infections.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2022 Analytical performance and potential clinical utility of the GenMark Dx ePlex® blood culture identification gram-positive panelDiagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease.  104. 2022
    2022 Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes Associated with the Omicron Variant of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) InfectionObstetrics and Gynecology.  140:262-265. 2022
    2022 COVID-19 Vaccination and Remdesivir are Associated With Protection From New or Increased Levels of Donor-Specific Antibodies Among Kidney Transplant Recipients Hospitalized With COVID-19Transplant International.  35. 2022
    2022 COVID-19 Causes Ciliary Dysfunction as Demonstrated by Human Intranasal Micro-Optical Coherence Tomography Imaging. 2022
    2022 Meta-analysis of the robustness of COVID-19 diagnostic kit performance during the early pandemicBMJ Open.  12. 2022
    2022 Mucociliary Transport Deficiency and Disease Progression in Syrian Hamsters with SARS-CoV-2 Infection. 2022
    2022 A single intranasal administration of AdCOVID protects against SARS-CoV-2 infection in the upper and lower respiratory tractsHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics.  18. 2022
    2021 Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes Associated With the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Delta (B.1.617.2) VariantObstetrics and Gynecology.  138:842-844. 2021
    2021 Decreasing High-risk Exposures for Healthcare Workers through Universal Masking and Universal Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Testing on Entry to a Tertiary Care FacilityClinical Infectious Diseases.  73:E3113-E3115. 2021
    2021 Predictors of Nonseroconversion after SARS-CoV-2 Infection 2021
    2021 Diagnosis of Clostridioides difficile infection by analysis of volatile organic compounds in breath, plasma, and stool: A cross-sectional proof-of-concept studyPLoS One.  16. 2021
    2021 Recognition of Diagnostic Gaps for Laboratory Diagnosis of Fungal Diseases: Expert Opinion from the Fungal Diagnostics Laboratories Consortium (FDLC)Journal of Clinical Microbiology.  59:e0178420. 2021
    2021 Practical guidance for clinical microbiology laboratories: Diagnosis of ocular infectionsClinical Microbiology Reviews.  34. 2021
    2021 Meta-Analysis of Robustness of COVID-19 Diagnostic Kits During Early Pandemic. 2021
    2020 Hyperammonemia syndrome due to Ureaplasma urealyticum in a kidney transplant recipient: A case of disseminated disease from a fluoroquinolone-resistant isolateTransplant Infectious Disease.  22. 2020
    2020 In vitro activities of eravacycline and other antimicrobial agents against human mycoplasmas and ureaplasmasAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.  64. 2020
    2020 Perioperative and critical care management of a patient with severe acute respiratory syndrome Corona virus 2 infection and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhageNeurosurgery.  87:E243-E244. 2020
    2020 Evaluation of commercial molecular diagnostic methods for detection and determination of macrolide resistance in mycoplasma pneumoniaeJournal of Clinical Microbiology.  58. 2020
    2020 Prospective evaluation of molecular assays for diagnosis of vaginitisJournal of Clinical Microbiology.  58. 2020
    2019 Disseminated metacestode versteria species infection in woman, pennsylvania, usa 2019
    2019 Aspergillus fumigatus corneal infection is regulated by chitin synthases and by neutrophil–derived acidic mammalian chitinaseEuropean Journal of Immunology.  49:918-927. 2019
    2019 Evaluation of the ELITe InGenius PCR platform for detection of Mycoplasma pneumoniaeJournal of Clinical Microbiology.  57. 2019
    2019 Mycoplasma pneumoniae Carriage with De Novo Macrolide-Resistance and Breakthrough PneumoniaPediatrics.  144. 2019
    2018 Quantitative thresholds enable accurate identification of clostridium difficile infection by the luminex xTAG gastrointestinal pathogen panelJournal of Clinical Microbiology.  56. 2018
    2017 Current and Emerging Molecular Tests for Human Papillomavirus–Related Neoplasia in the Genomic Era 2017
    2016 Clinical significance of commensal gram-positive rods routinely isolated from patient samplesJournal of Clinical Microbiology.  54:2928-2936. 2016
    2016 Closing the brief case: Recurrent granulomatous mastitis due to corynebacterium kroppenstedtiiJournal of Clinical Microbiology.  54:2212. 2016
    2016 Recurrent granulomatous mastitis due to corynebacterium kroppenstedtiiJournal of Clinical Microbiology.  54:1938-1941. 2016
    2016 Histidine biosynthesis plays a crucial role in metal homeostasis and virulence of Aspergillus fumigatusVirulence.  7:465-476. 2016
    2015 Erratum: Activation of neutrophils by autocrine IL-17A-IL-17RC interactions during fungal infection is regulated by IL-6, IL-23, RORγt and dectin-2 (Nat. Immunol., 14, (143-151))Nature Immunology.  16:214. 2015
    2014 Aspergillus and Fusarium corneal infections are regulated by Th17 cells and IL-17-producing neutrophilsJournal of Immunology.  192:3319-3327. 2014
    2014 Mgat2 ablation in the myeloid lineage leads to defective glycoantigen T cell responsesGlycobiology.  24:262-271. 2014
    2014 Activation of neutrophils by autocrine IL-17A-IL-17RC interactions during fungal infection is regulated by IL-6, IL-23, RORγt and dectin-2Nature Immunology.  15:143-151. 2014
    2014 Fatal metacestode infection in Bornean orangutan caused by unknown Versteria species. 2014
    2013 The rodA hydrophobin on Aspergillus fumigatus spores masks dectin-1- and dectin-2-dependent responses and enhances fungal survival in vivoJournal of Immunology.  191:2581-2588. 2013
    2013 Targeting Iron Acquisition Blocks Infection with the Fungal Pathogens Aspergillus fumigatus and Fusarium oxysporumPLoS Pathogens.  9. 2013
    2013 Host Response and Bacterial Virulence Factor Expression in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptococcus pneumoniae Corneal UlcersPLoS One.  8. 2013
    2012 Fungal antioxidant pathways promote survival against neutrophils during infectionJournal of Clinical Investigation.  122:2482-2498. 2012
    2012 The role of cytokines and pathogen recognition molecules in fungal keratitis - Insights from human disease and animal modelsCytokine.  58:107-111. 2012
    2011 Expression of innate and adaptive immune mediators in human corneal tissue infected with Aspergillus or FusariumJournal of Infectious Diseases.  204:942-950. 2011
    2011 Co-regulation of β-lactam resistance, alginate production and quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosaJournal of Medical Microbiology.  60:147-156. 2011
    2010 Distinct roles for Dectin-1 and TLR4 in the pathogenesis of Aspergillus fumigatus keratitisPLoS Pathogens.  6:1-16. 2010
    2008 Attenuation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence by medicinal plants in a Caenorhabditis elegans model systemJournal of Medical Microbiology.  57:809-813. 2008


    Year Title Altmetric
    2010 Encyclopedia of the Eye 2010


    Year Title Altmetric
    2010 Pathogenesis of fungal keratitis.  268-272. 2010
    2010 Pathogenesis of fungal keratitis.  268-272. 2010

    Research Overview

  • Development of novel molecular assays to more accurately diagnose infectious diseases. Utilizing model systems to identify key mediators of microbial detection and killing by phagocytic cells.
  • Full Name

  • Sixto Leal