U.S. Postoctoral Fellows
Sarah-Blythe Ballard, MD, MPH, is in Lima, Peru for a second fellowship year studying the characteristics of norovirus infection in children under five years-old at the Instituto Nacional de Salud del Nino. Under the mentorship of Professor Robert Gilman she is conducting her research through the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and NAMRU-6 Facility in Iquitos; both are UJMT FGHF affiliated training sites. She has two papers in progress – one on bacterial pathogens in recruits and the other on norovirus in recruits that we are finishing up the genotyping and has recently received an award at JHSPH for best abstract.
Allen C. Bateman, PhD, MPH, is working in Lusaka, Zambia at the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ). He is participating in laboratory and epidemiologic studies of human papillomavirus and cervical cancer under the direction of on-site mentor Benjamin Chi, as well as U.S.-based mentor Dirk Dittmer at UNC. Allen received his doctorate degree in molecular virology (2010) and his MPH in epidemiology (2011) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is funded by a supplement from the NIH National Cancer Institute.
Laura Boschini, MD, MA, is a resident in the UNC department of surgery. She is currently in Lilongwe, Malawi at the UNC Project-Malawi working under the direction of Mina Hosseinipour and Anthony Charles. William Miller of UNC is her U.S. based mentor. Her project is a geography-based strategy for injury prevention in Lilongwe, Malawi using the trauma surveillance registry and GIS mapping at the UNC Kamuzu Central Hospital. She will continue as a Fogarty Global Health Fellow, receiving a second year of funding.
Michael B. Deshotel, PhD, will spend his fellowship year at the Tulane Health Office for Latin America in Lima, under the mentorship of Nirbhay Kumar. His research will focus on identifying the most prevalent antigenic amino acid sequences for use in the development of a malaria transmission blocking vaccine. Deshotel has worked on vaccines aimed at preventing tuberculosis, Hansen’s disease, tularemia, and malaria. His observations while working with these diverse pathogens have led him to focus on vaccine design in an effort to produce the appropriate immune response. His long term goals are to remain in academia while focusing on the development of DNA vaccine scaffolds that are both prophylactic and therapeutic.
Adel Driss, PhD, is a senior postdoctoral fellow at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). He will travel to Kampala, Uganda to understand the molecular pathogenesis underlying disparities of malaria severity in a population of patients. He will work with Jonathan Stiles who is on faculty at MSM and a co-director of the UJMT FGHF Consortia. He began his education at the University of Tunis in Tunisia and has held several postdoctoral positions studying molecular and cellular biology and cancer biology at Emory University and now genomics & molecular biology at MSM. He is interested in the diversity of genetic diseases and the means to cure them, and the complex interactions between genes, environmental factors and genetic backgrounds of different populations.
Brian Hall, PhD, will spend his fellowship year at UNC-Project China/Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou under the mentorship of Joe Tucker. His research will focus on evaluating the effect of social networks of African migrants on mental health and substance abuse outcomes. Hall’s broad interest in the mental health consequences of adversity and identifying social factors that protect health shaped his goal to become an independently funded global mental health researcher. He aims to concentrate his career focus in Asia, China specifically. Hall has been the recipient of the NIH Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Research and the Lillian Friedman Award (Kent State University).
Bhakti Hansoti, MBchB, MPH, will spend her fellowship year at the University of Cape Town (UCT), under the mentorship of Lee Wallis. Her research will focus on the implementation of the WHO ETAT tool in primary healthcare centers in low resource settings. Hansoti completed a fellow in International Emergency Medicine and Public Health and holds an appointment as a clinical instructor within the department of Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Over the last several years, she has provided direct clinical care in India, Ghana, Jamaica, China and Nepal. During her MPH, she elected to focus primarily on epidemiology and biostatistics to improve her research skills. Dr. Hansoti’s career goal is to improve clinical outcomes research in the global health setting and use these findings to improve evidence based practice in low- and middle-income countries.
Pamela Jagger, PhD, MSc, will spend her fellowship year at UNC Project-Malawi in Lilongwe, under the mentorship of Irving Hoffman. Her research will focus on examining the relationship between exposure to household air pollution from biomass burning and the incidence of tuberculosis in peri-urban Malawi. The study is a community-based case-control design. Dr. Jagger is an assistant professor in Public Policy/Environment and Ecology at UNC, and a faculty fellow at the Carolina Population Center. Her research focuses on the welfare impacts of natural resource management policies in developing countries. Jagger has a K01 Mentored Research Scientist Award from NICHD to study the population, land use and health dynamics of biomass fuel use in sub-Saharan Africa. Her aim is to integrate health outcome data into the analysis of welfare outcomes associated with bio- mass fuel dependence. She has previously worked at the World Bank and the International Food Policy Research Institute.
Christina Kozycki, MD, will spend her fellowship year at National University of Rwanda in Kigali, under the mentorship of Don Krogstad. Her research will focus on estimating the frequency of false-negative rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) among febrile children presenting to CHWs. Kozycki is a second year resident in the Internal Medicine and Pediatrics program at Tulane. She earned her undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech and her MD from the Medical College of Georgia. She was introduced to the challenges of malaria control as a medical student, first as an intern with the Zanzibar Malaria Control Program and later as an epidemiology elective student at the CDC. She also earned her Master’s from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Lana Lee, MD, will spend her fellowship year at the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), Makerere University in Kampala, under the mentorship of Allison Agwu. Her research is an observational study to characterize and assess individual-level and clinic-level features associated with optimal HIV clinical outcomes, rates of ART adherence, retention in care, and utilization of services for youth (ages 16-24 years) living with HIV enrolled in care at a youth-only transition clinic compared to youth and adults (≥25 years) attending a general adult clinic in Kampala, Uganda. Lee is an adolescent medicine fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She has a long-standing commitment to global health and previously spent 18 months in rural South Africa as an HIV medical provider for children and adults. She graduated from the University of Illinois School of Medicine and completed her Medicine-Pediatrics residency training at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Chris Lippincott, MD, a former UNC infectious diseases fellow, will work in Johannesburg, South Africa to look at comprehensive and collaborative TB and HIV activities within prisons in Gauteng Province. Annelies Van Rie from UNC and Ian Sanne from the University of The Witwatersrand will serve as his mentoring team. His work is of extreme relevance in that there is a current health crisis in the underserved prison population highlighted by emerging HIV and TB incidence data, lack of adequate health care facilities, and overcrowding of prisons. The Departments of Correctional Services and Health are under significant pressure to rapidly improve the health care circumstances in prisons, particularly for transmitted diseases such as HIV and TB. He has prior global health experience treating TB as the field physician for Medècins Sans Frontiéres in Abkhazia, Georgia. At UNC, he continued to build on his TB experiences with MSF by designing a clinical study assessing the implementation of the Xpert MTB/RIF assay for TB diagnosis at UNC Hospitals.
Dennis Ongubo, MBchB, will travel to Lilongwe, Malawi to work on his study Analysis of the Effects of Antiretroviral Therapy on Neurodevelopment of Infants. Ongubo will be mentored by Mina Hossienipour and Jeff Wilkinson. He will take advantage of Malawi’s successful integration of the Option B+ Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV Program to study the effects of daily NVP or AZT from birth to 4-6weeks postpartum on the cognitive development of these infants compared to controls. He is originally from Kenya and became a U.S. permanent resident in January 2011. He is currently earning an MPHTM at Tulane University.
Heather Paich, PhD, will spend her fellowship year at the University of Cape Town (UCT) under the mentorship of Graeme Meintjes. Her research will focus on investigating the effects of antiretroviral therapy-associated metabolic dysfunction and alterations in the immune response to tuberculosis and influenza in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HIV+ individuals who are healthy weight, overweight, and obese. She is interested in studying obesity-associated chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, employing methods that have traditionally been used to study immunology and infectious disease, including flow cytometry.
Nora E. Rosenberg, PhD, is a postdoctoral research associate based in Lilongwe Malawi and funded through the UNC Center for AIDS Research. She is the leader of UNC Project’s Analysis and Manuscript Unit which supports US and Malawian investigators on a range of research activities. Her postdoctoral research focuses on Option B+, Malawi’s program to provide lifelong antiretroviral therapy to all HIV-infected pregnant and lactating women. She has received the UJMT FGHF travel and research award for a second year to assess male engagement issues in Option B+.
Emily Weaver, PhD, will spend her fellowship year at Instituto de Efectividad Clínica y Sanitaria in Buenos Aires under the mentorship of Pierre Buekens. Her research will focus on evaluating changes in referral patterns for health care clinics receiving an emergency obstetric quality improvement intervention. Her research focuses on evaluating interventions that aim to improve the quality of and access to reproductive health services in low-resource settings. She is currently analyzing methods of measuring maternal mortality using Verbal Autopsy in Africa and South Asia.
Arianna Zanolini, PhD, will research Zambian women’s decision to deliver their babies within an obstetric hospital or at home to discern what facility characteristics are most important to pregnant women in rural Zambia. Her mentors are Jeff Stringer based at UNC and Carla Chibwesha at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia. Zanolini received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2012. As an economist she investigates the economic and behavioral aspects of maternal and child health-related behaviors. Her doctoral work focused on the impact of maternal investments on child health; exploring the relationship between maternal endowments, prenatal behaviors and birth outcomes using a structural model, and used a natural experiment to explore the long term outcomes of negative in-utero experiences.
Fellows from Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Wen Chen, PhD, will study at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. Her research will assess the association between the pattern of migrants and high-risk sexual behavior. Her study will measure the frequency of high-risk sexual behavior in the population-representative sample and determine the migrant characteristics that correlate to STD/HIV testing refusal among a of individual18-49 years old in Guangzhou. She began HIV and STD research with an evaluation of the community-based methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) among drug users program in Guangdong Province in 2008 and since has participated in routine and research activities of Sun Yat-sen Center for Migrant Health Policy. Her mentors in China are Joe Tucker and Li Ling.
Fengyu Hu, MD, PhD, will spend her fellowship year at Guangzhou 8th Hospital in Guangzhou under the mentorship of Stanley Lemon. Her research will focus on investigating HBV resistant variants or drug resistant strains being transmitted among HIV infected patients. Ultra-deep sequencing method will be involved in this project to determine the NRTIs resistant variants of HBV. After her doctoral training, Dr. Hu started her research focusing on HIV/AIDS at Guangzhou 8th Hospital, an infectious disease hospital in South China. In November 2011, she began her postdoctoral fellowship in Infectious Diseases at UNC, supported by both UNC and Guangzhou 8th Hospital. Dr. Hu’s career goals include improving infectious diseases research in China and utilizing greater international collaboration in the investigation of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
Lim Sin How, PhD, is Malaysian national and earned his doctorate degree at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in Epidemiology in 2009. His research project will adapt an evidence-based intervention for men who have sex with men (MSM) in Malaysia. He has built a close partnership with the local AIDS NGO (PT Foundation) and provided some consultation on their outreach programs and volunteer training. He will focus on an intervention that can increase the knowledge of HIV prevention, dispel misconceptions about condom use, and enhance the negotiation skills for condom use with sexual partners. He will work under the training from Chris Beyrer at Johns Hopkins who is the expert on the epidemiology of global HIV epidemic among MS
Prossy Nakanwagi, MBchB, is a medical officer and study coordinator at Makerere University in Uganda. During her fellowship training she will integrate a nested study into the evaluation of the accuracy and optimal use of the Eiken TB LAMP test for TB diagnosis at point‐of‐care in a HIV‐prevalent setting in Uganda. She has been involved with the Makerere University-Johns Hopkins Research Collaboration on the HPTN 046 trial that confirmed the need for extended Nevirapine for HIV exposed children and worked on the PROMISE 1077 BF study. As a Fogarty trainee she will consolidate her hands-on knowledge in research to become an independent researcher in HIV/TB and other co-infections.