Global Health & Infectious Disease Trainee Oral Symposium

March 30, 2017
12:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Holden Auditorium, FLTC, Medical Campus

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2017 Global Health & Infectious Disease Trainee Symposium.

Check out the photo album from the event.


12:30 pm Registration
1:00 pm Introduction
1:15 pm Keynote Speaker: Daniel Goldberg, MD, PhD, Washington University – New Drugs for Malaria
1:40 pm Catherine Cai, BS, Saint Louis University
1:55 pm Jeremy Huynh, BA, Washington University
2:10 pm Molly Pezzulo, BS, University of Albany, State University of New York Albany
2:40 pm Break
2:55 pm Sebastian Nasamu, MPH, Washington Universtiy
3:10 pm Robert Potter, BA, Washington University
3:25 pm Panel on Careers in Global Health
– Flaminia Catteruccia, PhD, Harvard University
– Ellyn Ogden, MPH, USAID
– Ernesto Tiben-Ruiz, MD, Carter Institute
– Mary Wilson, MD, University of Iowa
– Albert Ko, MD, FACP, FIDSA, Yale University
4:00 pm Concluding Remarks
4:15 pm Reception


Gaya Amarasinghe, PhD, Associate Faculty, Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University

Sebla Kutluay, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University

Keynote Speaker

Daniel Goldberg, MD, PhD
David M. and Paula L. Kipnis Distinguished Professor
Co-Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases
Department of Medicine
Washington University

Dr. Daniel E. Goldberg is the David M. and Paula L. Kipnis Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Molecular Microbiology at Washington University in St Louis. He is Co-director of the Infectious Diseases Division. Dr. Goldberg did his undergraduate training at Harvard University, graduating in 1978. He then received an MD/PhD degree from Washington University in 1985. After a residency in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, he did an Infectious Diseases fellowship at Washington University and post-doctoral research at Rockefeller University before joining the faculty at Washington University in 1990. Dr. Goldberg studies the biology of intraerythrocytic Plasmodium falciparum, focusing on antimalarial drug mechanism and on exported protein trafficking and function. His lab has discovered enzymes involved in hemoglobin degradation and characterized the proteolytic pathway. It has studied the biology of amino acid utilization and starvation in detail. The lab has made important contributions to our understanding of protein export in Plasmodium. It has also contributed a number of genetic tools for the study of this organism.

Title – New Drugs for Malaria
Despite the substantial progress made over the past decade, efforts to control malaria are threatened by the spread of drug resistance. We are in desperate need of new antimalarial chemotherapy. Several recent whole parasite chemical library screens have identified thousands of compounds with potent antimalarial activity but we do not know how most of them work. This makes drug development difficult. To address this, a consortium called the Malaria Drug Target Identification Project (MDTIP) group has set out to find targets for the most promising of these antimalarial compounds. As part of this effort, we isolated parasites resistant to three diverse compounds that have different mutations in the Niemann-Pick Type C1 protein homolog (NCR1). Ability of the NCR1 mutations to confer resistance was confirmed by allelic exchange. Overexpression of wild-type NCR1 made parasites resistant to the compounds, while knockdown made parasites hypersensitive. Compound treatment or NCR1 knockdown conferred dramatically increased sensitivity of the parasite plasma membrane to the cholesterol-complexing detergent saponin. NCR1 knockdown or inhibition also resulted in grossly abnormal digestive vacuoles that are compromised in ability to degrade hemoglobin and to provide nutrients for the parasite. The data point to an unappreciated sterol flow from erythrocyte to parasite and reveal a molecular mechanism for preservation of the cholesterol-poor parasite plasma membrane. NCR1 is an interesting new antimalarial target.


Flaminia Catteruccia, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Flaminia Catteruccia is Associate Professor at the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her lab studies the biology of mosquitoes that transmit malaria, a disease that kills half a million people each year. In particular, her research focuses on how mosquitoes reproduce and transmit the disease to humans. Her goal is to reduce the malaria burden by identifying where we can interfere with the mosquito’s ability to transmit deadly malaria parasites.

Flaminia trained as a molecular entomologist at Imperial College London, where she achieved the first genetic manipulation of Anopheles mosquitoes. She has since contributed numerous molecular and genetic studies that have expanded our understanding of mosquito biology and mosquito-parasite interactions. Her work includes field studies in a number of African countries to bridge laboratory findings to the implementation of novel strategies for malaria elimination.

Title – Malaria Transmission by the Mosquito Vector: Studying Basic Biology to Find New Solutions to an Old Problem

Abstract – TBD

Albert Icksang Ko, MD, FACP, FIDSA
Chair, Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases
Yale University

Dr. Albert Icksang Ko, an infectious disease physician, is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale School of Public Health and Collaborating Researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazilian Ministry of Health. His research centers on the health problems that have emerged as a consequence of rapid urbanization and social inequity. Dr. Ko coordinates a research and training program on urban slum health in Brazil and is conducting prospective studies on rat-borne leptospirosis, dengue, meningitis and respiratory infections. His research particularly focuses on understanding the transmission dynamics and natural history of leptospirosis, which is as a model for an infectious disease that has emerged in slum environments due to the interaction of climate, urban ecology and social marginalization. Current research combines multidisciplinary epidemiology, ecology and translational research-based approaches to identify prevention and control strategies that can be implemented in slum communities. Dr. Ko is also Program Director at Yale for the Fogarty Global Health Equity Scholars Program which provides research training opportunities for US and LMIC post and pre-doctoral fellows at collaborating international sites. Since December 2016, the research and training program in the city of Salvador, Brazil has mobilized their efforts to investigate the on-going outbreak of Zika virus infection and microcephaly.

Title – Emergence of Zika Congenital Syndrome

Abstract  TBD

Ellyn Ogden, MPH
Worldwide Polio Eradication Coordinator

Ellyn W. Ogden, MPH has been the Worldwide Polio Eradication Coordinator and Technical Director for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and a Senior Technical Advisor for Health and Child Survival since 1997.  She is responsible for the USAID’s $59 million annual polio eradication that works in over 25 countries in Africa, South Asia, and the Near East. Recognizing the need for equity and access to health services for all children, Ms. Ogden has directed special attention to children in conflict countries and among marginalized or under-served communities.  A graduate of the Tulane (B.A. International Relations) and the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (MPH Epidemiology and Infectious Disease Control), Ellyn has nearly 30 years of international public health experience in the areas of child survival, disease prevention and control, health communication, and health and human rights. During her career, Ms Ogden has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Papua New Guinea and as a John’s Hopkins University Health and Child Survival Fellow with USAID’s Latin America Bureau.  Ms. Ogden is a Member of the Polio Eradication Regional Certification Committee for Europe. In 2008, Ms. Ogden received USAID’s Award for Heroism for her successful efforts to negotiate “Ceasefires and Days of Tranquility” in several conflict countries in Africa and Asia. She is also the recipient of Rotary International’s prestigious “Paul Harris Fellows Award” for Humanitarian Service.

Title – The Science of Political and Financial Support for Disease Eradication

The Science of Disease Elimination Eradication of disease is the aspirational goal of global public health efforts, and yet only one infectious disease of humans — smallpox — has been eradicated to date. There are ongoing efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis, dracunculiasis, yaws and malaria, and five more infectious diseases have been identified as potentially eradicable, including measles. Diseases that are potentially eradicable share a number of critical features, including the absence of a non-human reservoir or environmental amplification, availability of diagnostics, and an efficient and effective intervention. Additional factors such as financial support to implement interventions and political commitment are crucial to mount a successful eradication campaign.  A trend analysis of the polio eradication budget over nearly 20 years, tells an important story of early optimism, the cost of underestimating the social context and complexity of field operations, the challenges of building coalitions at the international level down to every household as well as resource mobilization.  These lessons are instructive as the world contemplates future elimination and eradication initiatives.

Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben, PhD
Director, Guinea Worm Eradication Program
The Carter Center


Topic – Overview of the Guinea worm eradication program.

Abstract – TBD




Mary Wilson, MD
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Dr. Wilson obtained her BS degree from Carleton College and MD from the University of Rochester in New York. She did a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan, and postdoctoral fellowship Infectious Diseases fellowship at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. At UVA she worked with Richard Pearson studying the immunobiology of leishmaniasis.  She then joined the faculty at the University of Iowa in Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, and later obtained a joint appointment in the Department of Microbiology. She holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Epidemiology, and is a member of the Interdisciplinary graduate programs in Immunology, Genetics and Molecular & Cellular Biology. Dr. Wilson’s international research began in 1996 when she initiated a study of the human genetic susceptibility to leishmaniasis in endemic neighborhoods outside of Natal, northeast Brazil in collaboration with Dr. Selma Jeronimo of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Natal.  This has developed into a collaborative program with two universities in northeast Brazil, headed by Dr. Edgar Carvalho of the Federal University of Bahia and Dr. Selma Jeronimo, with studies funded through a Tropical Medicine Research Center from the NIH.  Dr. Wilson began studies of leishmaniasis in India in collaboration with Dr. Shyam Sundar of Banaras Hindu University, funded through a second Tropical Medicine Research Center to that university.  Dr. Wilson’s studies at the University of Iowa focus on the innate and adaptive immune response to Leishmania spp. in rodent models and in models of human skin. Her studies in India and Brazil have focused on development of techniques to detect and quantify parasites in asymptomatic and symptomatic infection, the genetics of human susceptibility to leishmaniasis, the effects of divergent parasite strains on the outcome of infection, and the importance of insect microbiomes in transmission of infection.

Topic – Leishmaniasis translational research in northeast Brazil and in India.

Leishmaniasis is a group of vector-borne parasitic diseases caused by the obligate intracellular Leishmania spp. protozoa. Leishmania are most abundant in macrophages throughout infection, but murine models show neutrophils (PMNs) are the first to internalize the parasite at the site of infection. PNNs are found at infected sites throughout chronic infection, but their role is undefined. Observations of Brazilian patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) caused by Leishmania braziliensis, and Indian patients with visceral leishmaniasis caused to L. donovani revealed an expanded population of low density neutrophils that expressed HLA-DR, CD80 and CD86 in peripheral blood. This subset was found in high abundance in low-density PMNs, a recently described neutrophil subset. HLA-DR+ PMNs morphologically resembled conventional PMNs, but they exhibited increased activation, degranulation, oxidant generation and phagocytosis of parasites and zymosan particles. HLA-DR was induced on PMNs by incubation in inflammatory cytokines and in plasma from patients with active VL, suggesting a connection between neutrophil “priming” and upregulation of HLA-DR. Importantly, HLA-DR positive neutrophils of VL subjects did not stimulate T cell proliferation, but they did express higher PDL1 than other neutrophils, and lymphocytes of the same subjects expressed high surface PD1. Thus, HLA-DR+ PMNs may not act as antigen presenting cells, but they do expressed markers implicating a potential role in T cell exhaustion.

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Event Sponsors: Center for Global Health and Infectious Disease at the Institute for Public Health, and the Departments of Medicine, Molecular Microbiology, and Pediatrics at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis