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2nd-Annual-Global-Health-Scholars-SymposiumThe 2nd Annual Global Health Scholars Symposium is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 16 from 9:15am-12pm!

Presented by the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases (IGHID) and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (GSGPH), the symposium will feature global health research from MD/PhD students, doctoral candidates, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. Scholars from global sites around the world will share research and lead discussions. This hybrid event will begin in Bioinformatics Room #1131.


9:15-9:30am EST 

Zoom Link - 1131

Suzanne Maman, PhD, Associate Dean for Global Health, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Barbara Stephenson, PhD, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Chief Global Officer, UNC Chapel Hill 
Myron S. Cohen, MD, Director, UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases
Ben Chi, MD, MSc, Professor, Global Women’s Health
Limbanazo M. Matandika, PhD, Research Fellow (Center for Bioethics in Eastern and Southern Africa – CEBESA) Kamuzu University of Health Sciences

9:30-10:30am EST

  • Edwing C. Cuadra, MSc, Research Associate with UNC (In-person)
    “A Bead-Based Multiplex Sample-Sparing Antibody Assay for Detecting Current and Past Dengue and Zika Virus Infections”
  • Gifty Marley, PhD, UNC-Project China Postdoctoral Fellow (Remote)
    “Pay-it-forward gonorrhea and chlamydia testing among men who have sex with men and male STD patients in China: Interim findings from the PIONEER pragmatic, cluster randomized controlled trial “
  • Camille Morgan, MD-PhD Candidate (In-person)
    “Investigating household hepatitis B transmission using whole-genome sequencing and serological profiles in Kinshasa Province, Democratic Republic of Congo” 
  • Mitch Matoga, PhD, M-HIRST Fellow (Remote)
    Effectiveness of an intervention to increase uptake of voluntary medical male circumcision among men with sexually transmitted infections in Malawi: a pre- and post-interventional study 
  • Khanh Nguyen, Health Behavior PhD Candidate (In-person)
    “Mycoplasma genitalium infections among men who have sex with men in a human immunodeficiency virus pre-exposure prophylaxis program in Hanoi, Vietnam”
  • Moses Mukosha, PhD, UNC-UNZA-Wits Partnership for Women’s Health Research Fellow (Remote)
    “Human immunodeficiency virus and persistent hypertension six months postpartum among women previously diagnosed with pre-eclampsia: A Prospective Cohort Study in Zambia”

10:30-10:35am EST

Michael Herce, MD, MPH, MSCR, Associate Director of International Operations, UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases

10:35-11am EST

  • Stephanie Peres-da-Silva, MD Candidate
    “Norovirus Immunity at the Maternal-Child Interface in Rural Southwest Guatemala”
  • Luis Zambrana, Epidemiology PhD Candidate
    “Investigating the Impact of Human Milk Oligosaccharides on Child Development”
  • Hongjie Chen, PhD, Visiting Scholar
    “ENL improve HIV transcription in microglial cell and T cell” 
  • Huanjuan Su, PhD Candidate
    “Characterization of venous and arterial smooth muscle cells phenotype under uremic conditions” 
  • Ronald Kyong-Shin, Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program PhD Candidate
    “Long-read nanopore whole-genome sequencing of Plasmodium falciparum samples from the DRC to detect structural variants associated with resistance to antimalarial drugs” 
  • Lia Upchurch, PharmD, Postdoctoral Fellow
    “Designing and Implementing the First National Pediatric Cancer Registry in Ethiopia”
  • Thuy Dao, Epidemiology PhD Candidate
    “Friendship Bench Intervention to Address Depression and Improve HIV Care Engagement Among Adolescents Living with HIV in Malawi: Study Protocol for a Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial”

11-12PM EST

(Attendees will chose to 1 of 5 breakout sessions to attend.)

1. Maternal and Child Health (Room #2120)

Zoom Link - 2120
  • Yaoska Reyes, PhD, Norovirus Postdoctoral Research Associate
    “Histo-blood groups antigens and the susceptibility to norovirus and rotavirus AGE in a Nicaraguan birth cohort”
  • Rebecca Rubenstein, MD-PhD Candidate (remote)
    “Human milk oligosaccharides and secretor status positively associated with the risk of Campylobacter jejuni gastroenteritis in breastfeeding Nicaraguan infants”
  • Nadia Hoekstra, MD, Fogarty Global Health Fellow
    “Development of a Novel Scoring Tool to Detect Child Pneumonia Aspiration Risk Using Healthy Breastfed Infants in Malawi”
  • Katie Mollan, Epidemiology PhD Candidate
    “Contraceptive Effectiveness of the Levonorgestrel Implant and Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA) Injectable among Women Living with HIV on Efavirenz-based Antiretroviral Therapy”
  • Caitlin Cassidy, Epidemiology PhD Candidate
    “Associations between C-reactive protein, malaria, and malnutrition among children with febrile acute respiratory illness in Uganda”

2. Healthcare Service Delivery – Non-HIV (Room #2106) 

Zoom Link - 2106
  • Dorian Ho, BSPH Candidate
    “Mechanisms explaining a pay-it-forward approach: A qualitative analysis among men who have sex with men in China” 
  • Kristen Banek, Phd, MPH, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases (remote)
    “Using Cascade Analysis to Improve Malaria Diagnosis and Treatment in Congolese Children” 
  • Anna Ilyasova, MD Candidate
    “Identifying barriers to opioid agonist therapy in the Kyrgyz Republic: a nominal group technique study among people who inject drugs” 
  • Dalton Craven, UNC Project-Malawi Research Fellow (remote)
    “Missed Opportunities for Care Across the Cancer Continuum in Malawi: Perspectives from Survivors of Lymphoma and Breast Cancer”
  • Ednas Billiat Mayani, Bloodsafe Initiative (remote)
    “Prevalence, Trends and Predictors of Anaemia among Prospective First-Time Voluntary Non- Remunerated Blood Donors in Malawi”
  • Wongani Mtabayira Nyondo, Bloodsafe Initiative (remote)
    “Patterns of Blood ordering and Blood usage at Nsanje District Hospital, Malawi” 
  • Luck Mangwiro, Bloodsafe Initiative (remote)
    “How good and useful is routine blood transfusion data in informing best practices in transfusion medicine: A case of district and central hospitals in Malawi”

3. Healthcare Service Delivery – HIV (Room #2150) 

Zoom Link -2150
  • Xiaoyi Li, SMU China-UNC Visiting Scholar
    “Histone deacetylase inhibitors are also histone decrotonylase inhibitors which enhances HIV transcription” 
  • Zhuoheng Yin, SESH (Social Entrepreneurship to Spur Health) Initiative, UNC-Project China (remote)
    “Outcomes from A Community-clinic Hybrid PrEP Approach as Part of a Clinical Trial in China, 2021-2023”
  • Mitch Matoga, MD, MS, PhD in Epidemiology Candidate, M-HIRST Fellow (remote)
    “HIV and Urethritis: Time required for antiretroviral therapy to suppress HIV in semen”
  • Simon Nicholas, MSc Global Health Implementation, M-HIRST Fellow
    “Barriers and Facilitators to HIV Oral Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Lilongwe, Malawi” 
  • Petros Tembo, PhD Candidate, KUHeS Malawi, M-HIRST Fellow (remote)
    “Spatial distribution of clients reporting for clinic appointments and factors associated with missed appointments at largest public ART clinic in Lilongwe, Malawi: a retrospective cohort study.”

4. Malaria (Room #2127) 

Zoom Link - 2127
  • Ruthly François-Zafka, MD-PhD Candidate
    “Increasing lumefantrine resistance markers in a malaria longitudinal study in Kinshasa Province, Democratic Republic of Congo” 
  • Isabela Gerdes Gyuricza, Genetics and Molecular Biology PhD Candidate
    “Comparative genomics of pfhrp2/3-deleted Plasmodium falciparum in South America and Africa”
  • Wenqiao He, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow
    “Analysis of the Aedes mosquito virome in Kimpese, Democratic Republic of the Congo”
  • Claudia Gaither, Epidemiology PhD Candidate
    “Falciparum & non-Falciparum Malaria in the 2014-15 Rwanda Demographic Health Survey”
  • Kelly Carey-Ewend, MD-PhD Candidate
    “Population genomics of Plasmodium ovale in sub-Saharan Africa” 
  • Sean Connelly, MD-PhD Candidate
    “Zanzibar and Imported Malaria (ZIM): Leveraging Genomic Epidemiology to Understand Hurdles for Elimination” 
  • Zach Popkin-Hall, PhD, IDEEL/IGHID Postdoctoral Fellow
    “Malaria species positivity rates among symptomatic individuals across regions of differing transmission intensities in Mainland Tanzania” 

5. Stigma/Mental Health (Room #2136) 

Zoom Link - 2136
  • Maria Faidas, MD Candidate, UJMT Fogarty Fellow (remote)
    “Health stigma & discrimination experienced by adolescents living with HIV and comorbid depression in Malawi” 
  • Jack Kramer, UNC-Project Malawi Intern (remote)
    “Stigma and Discrimination Experienced by People with Psychosis in Malawi” 
  • Madeline Van Husen, MSW/MPH Candidate
    “Empowerment among treatment-engaged individuals living with schizophrenia in Tanzania”
  • Hue Nguyen, MD, MPH, Vietnam Implementation Science Advancement Program (VISA) (remote)
    “Contingency management to improve treatment outcomes in medications for opioid use disorder for individuals with substance abuse: A scoping review” 
  • Ha Viet Tran, MD, MSc, UNC Project-Vietnam
    “Stigma experienced by people living with HIV who are on methadone maintenance treatment and have symptoms of common mental disorders in Hanoi, Vietnam: A qualitative study”
  • Ramya Kumar, Epidemiology PhD Candidate, University of Washington, UJMT Fogarty Fellow (remote)
    “PrEPared for Change: Injectable PrEP Interest Among Women Engaged in Sex Work in Zambia, a Rapid Qualitative Study”



The Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases was established in 2007 to foster innovation in global research and education, aligned with UNC’s mission to become a leading global university. Since then, research capacity building has become intrinsic to the work we do, growing intertwined practice-academic partnerships like Project Malawi, Project China, Project Nicaragua and much more, through a pan-university framework for collaboration and access to research funding. Today, IGHID is the research engine that drives UNC’s global health work, nurturing emerging investigators and collaborators who work together on four continents, in a reciprocal exchange of education and practice. 


The Gillings School of Global Public Health works to improve public health, promote individual well-being and eliminate health inequities in North Carolina and around the world, working in basic science laboratories; clinical and public health settings; communities, including worksites; and community-based and other non-governmental organizations. Faculty, staff and students are focused on bridging the gap between academic research and practical public health that can make a healthier world. The School’s curriculum balances classroom education with real-world experience, preparing students to tackle the toughest public health challenges facing North Carolina and the world. The School is home to approximately 2,260 dedicated students and ranked the top public school of public health (#2 overall) by U.S. News and World Report (ranked in 2022 for the 2023 edition).