Featured Scholar: Gary J. Weil, MD
Dr. Weil is a professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Washington University School of Medicine. He is also an active member of the Institute’s Center for Global Health. Weil’s research focuses on filarial nematode parasites that cause tropical diseases such as lymphatic filariasis or “elephantiasis” and onchocerciasis or “river blindness.”
Dr. Weil’s research group conducts basic research on parasite biology, and also conducts applied field research in eight countries in Africa and Asia. One major focus of this work has been on development and evaluation of improved diagnostic tests for parasitic diseases. A recent study showed that a new test for filarial infection has significant advantages over prior tests for this disease. These tests are key tools in the World Health Organization’s Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis. Dr. Weil also serves as principal investigator on a project that aims to develop a new test for onchocerciasis. Of this effort, Weil says “We’re using a multidisciplinary approach to develop a new tool that will help the international effort to eradicate river blindness. With recent advances in genomics and proteomics, we’re optimistic that we can accomplish this task.” This work is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr. Weil recently received the Donald Mackay Medal from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which is a leading organization in the fields of tropical medicine and global health. This prestigious award recognizes outstanding contributions in tropical public health.
In addition to his research activities, Dr. Weil serves as the principal faculty advisor to the Forum for International Health and Tropical Medicine (see fihtm.wustl.edu), which is a joint medical student/faculty organization that promotes global health activities at Washington University School of Medicine.