Department of Pediatrics
Associate Professor and Chief, Infectious Diseases
Pediatric Infectious Diseases; Pediatrics
I am a leader in childhood infectious gastrointestinal diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 86% of all child deaths occur in the developing world. Six preventable diseases account for most of the 5.6 million yearly deaths in children younger than five years of age: pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, neonatal pneumonia or sepsis, preterm delivery and asphyxia at birth. My overall goal is to help decrease the morbidity and mortality of childhood infections through excellence in research, education and patient care. As chief of the Infectious Diseases Division in the Department of Pediatrics, I provide excellence in patient care locally and abroad, and I oversee patient care services, infection control and antibiotic stewardship programs.
I established and lead a global health research program, the International Enteric Vaccines Research Program (IEVRP), on the epidemiology, pathogenesis and vaccine development of childhood gastrointestinal infections. This program is dedicated to biomedical research, scientific training and international collaborations in Latin America, Southeast Asia and the United States. My collaborative scientific achievements with IEVRP include developing rapid diagnostic tools for diarrheal disease surveillance, identifying the most prevalent diarrheal pathogens and detecting emergent intestinal pathogens. My collaborators and I also worked on vaccine development research studies on pediatric infectious diseases associated with a high burden of disease. A long-term goal of these studies is to facilitate public health interventions for managing and preventing common infection diseases in children. Our studies on bacterial pathogenesis include genetic and phenotypic characterization of emergent E. coli pathogens and the role of surface proteins on gut colonization. Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) bacteria are important causes of diarrhea in travelers and children in the developing world. Our vaccine development research evaluates immunogenicity and immunoprotection of ETEC antigens delivered as live vaccines or purified proteins.
I oversee our pediatric infectious diseases fellowship program and teach trainees in medicine and biomedical research. My clinical trainees include medical students, residents and fellows. I also teach and mentor research trainees at different career levels, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty. My academic leadership has been instrumental in fostering the careers of numerous American and international trainees in basic, translational and clinical infectious diseases research.