- PhD Chemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology 2008
- BS Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology 1999
Heather Bean is a bioanalytical chemist working to identify biomarkers of chronic lung infections that can be developed into new clinical diagnostics, with an emphasis on breath tests. She and her research team are applying advanced chromatography and mass spectrometry methods to identify the volatile and soluble metabolites produced by microbial pathogens, both in vitro and in the host lung environment through the analysis of clinical samples, such as sputum and breath.
The Bean research group is also identifying biomarkers that the host produces in response to the microbial pathogens, and biomarkers that the host-pathogen system produces in the unique metabolic feedback environment created during infection. In addition to more sensitive diagnostics, this data may contribute the development of more effective drugs for treating chronic lung infections, such as those associated with cystic fibrosis and COPD.