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Natalie Bowman, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine-infectious diseases and Clark Cunningham, MD-PhD (c) in genetics and molecular biology, have initiated a collaborative effort between the Infectious Disease, Epidemiology, and Ecology Lab and the Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru and their affiliated study sites in Lima and Iquitos, Peru and Santa Cruz, Bolivia. They are working with Mirko Zimic, PhD, MSc, MHS, principal professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Sciences at UPCH who has expertise in diagnostic assay development for several other tropical pathogens including tuberculosis and cysticercosis. The project aims to test T. gondii and T. cruzi RPA-LF assays in a clinical setting in endemic countries to determine if these assays can serve as effective point-of-care diagnostics for toxoplasmic encephalitis and central nervous system Chagas disease.

Natalie Bowman headshot
Clark Cunningham headshot


Aunchalee Palmquist, PhD, assistant professor of maternal and child health; Billy Fischer, MD, assistant professor of medicine-pulmonary and critical care; and Anna Fetterolf, MPH (c) in leadership in practice are working via the UNC Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers research project (co-directed by Drs. Fischer and David Wohl) to partner with Liberian researchers in Monrovia. Using a participatory action research approach, they are training the researchers in study design, data collection and analysis, and dissemination. This work will build a foundation able to provide resources for perinatal and postpartum physical, mental, or social needs of Ebola survivors who become mothers. Additionally, the partnership will inform future implementation research to strengthen health systems in Liberia to provide comprehensive and quality maternal, child, and family health services for Ebola survivors.


David van Duin, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine-infectious diseases, is building upon the relationship between UNC Project-Malawi, Kamuzu Central Hospital Department of Pediatrics, and the University of British Columbia by developing a new research focus in antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The primary focus is to lay crucial groundwork to support UNC Project-Malawi in becoming one of the premier sites in sub-Saharan Africa for research and surveillance of AMR. Dr. van Duin will also use this opportunity to build the capabilities of local junior investigators, who are working to establish a bacterial sequencing infrastructure to address the real-time challenge of AMR.

Tisungane Mvalo, MBBS, MMed, FCPaed, pediatric director, UNC Project-Malawi and Hillary Topazian, PhD (c) in epidemiology, are strengthening the collaboration between UNC’s Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, UNC Project-Malawi, and the Malawi Ministry of Health through a partnership to provide technical assistance and training to health facilities for malaria surveillance and prevention programs. They have engaged Austin Gumbo, MPH, who oversees monitoring and evaluation for the National Malaria Control Program in the Malawi Ministry of Health and Michael Kayange, MBBS, MSc, the deputy director of Preventive Health Services (Malaria) also in the Malawi Ministry. Determining population-level estimates of malaria incidence will contribute to the malaria epidemiology landscape of Malawi. Mapping vaccine-like and vaccine-different strains will generate country-wide estimates and will be useful for malaria vaccine implementation.

Alyssa Tilly, MD, assistant professor of medicine & pediatrics and part of UNC Palliative Care, and Kate Westmoreland, MD, assistant professor of pediatric hematology-oncology, are building on the institutional relationship between Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH), the Malawi Ministry of Health, and the UNC Project-Malawi Cancer Program. The recent construction of the Ministry’s National Cancer Center on the KCH campus, which is adjacent to UNC Project-Malawi, opens new opportunities in collaborative oncologic research and care. The team is implementing an innovative toolkit with medications and didactic resources to relieve suffering for adolescents and young adults with Burkitt Lymphoma at KCH. Drs. Tilly and Westmoreland have established relationships with palliative care and oncology in both pediatrics and adult medicine at KCH, but no formal palliative care research has taken place engaging both of these groups. UNC Oncology Nurse Maria Chikasema, RN, is the acting lead research nurse. The team is addressing the knowledge gap in global palliative care and building capacity in the delivery of palliative care at KCH in Malawi.

david van duin headshot
Van Duin

Tisungane Mvalo headshot
Hillary Topazian headshot
Alyssa Tilly headshot

kate westmoreland headshot


brian wells pence headshot

brad gaynes headshot


Carla Chibwesha, MD, MSc, associate professor of Ob/Gyn and Rainier Masa, PhD, MSW, assistant professor in the School of Social Work have established a new partnership between UNC’s Division of Global Women’s Health, the UNC Center for Global Social Development Innovations, and the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Gina Chowa, PhD, MSW, associate professor in the School of Social Work, and Masangu Mulongo, MBBCh, research medical officer at Wits Clinical HIV Research Unit are newly integrated into the Wits-UNC relationship, building on a long history of bidirectional research and training opportunities. The team is focusing on contextual factors affecting the uptake of women’s cancer screening and engagement in care. Also, gathering diverse perspectives on structural barriers and service preferences will enable the design of a multi-level package of implementation interventions to suit the South African context

Carla Chibwesha headshot

Rainier Masa headshot