September, 2011

Department of Tropical Medicine 
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New Malaria Transmission Blocking Vaccine


Dr. Nirbhay Kumar, Professor and Chair of the Department of Tropical Medicine along with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and India's Gennova Biopharmaceuticals have come up with a breakthrough vaccine to help reduce the transmission of malaria.To find out  more click here

New Faculty Additions


We would like to welcome three new additions to our department. Dr. Geetha Bansal joined as the Associate Dean for Research to the Dean's office and Research Associate Professor in the Department of Tropical Medicine.  Dr. Bansal's primary task is to work towards enhancing research within Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine


Before joining The Department of Tropical Medicine, Dr. Bansal served as a Program Official in the Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), National Institute of Health (NIH) where she managed programs related to basic vaccine discovery research. 


Prior to that, Dr. Bansal joined NIH as a Scientific Review Administrator in the Scientific Review Program (SRP) of the Division of Extramural Activities at the NIAID,NIH. In this capacity Dr. Bansal administered and managed the scientific review of grant applications and contract proposals in the areas of vaccines and immunotherapeutics for immune disorders and infectious diseases.  Dr. Bansal has also served on peer review panels for NIH grants as well as manuscripts.  Dr. Bansal has been the recipient of NIH SBIR grants and published several papers. She also examined and issued several U.S. Patents as a Patent Examiner while at the USPTO.


New Staff Additions


Denise Barrera joined the department in June as the Sr. Department Administrator. Denise has an MPH from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and a BA from Louisiana State University.  She has worked for Tulane University for  the past 15 years in areas of the Sponsored Project Administration Office and the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine Dean's Office, Logistics Support Unit.  Denise has experience in working with pre and post award grant administration, human resources, departmental expenses and approval protocols, and the entire Tulane web based systems. 


Kasi Guillot joined our staff as a Sr. Program Coordinator in September.  Kasi has a BA from the University of West Florida with a concentration in Neuroscience and has worked for Tulane University for over three years. Before joining the Department of Tropical Medicine, she was the Senior Program Coordinator for Tulane Cancer Center. Kasi has a strong background in academia with over 7 years of experience assisting students achieve their academic goals.  




There are many new and exciting developments this semester.  We have two student assistants helping out this semester at the reception area - Kirubel Zeleke and Ngozi Jones.  They have been most helpful!  This summer was busy preparing the space to welcome new students.  The student lounge was renovated so it will be a comfortable place for them to meet for lunch and studying.  The lounge is complete and the students now have a bright and fresh area with reading space, a sofa and a desktop computer connected with network.  The student coordinator's office (Kasi) was renovated alongside of the student lounge for close proximity to the students when they need her advice


This is the first semester of the Department of Tropical Medicine's new core course TRMD-6010, Biological Basis of Disease.  Dr. Wiser and other faculty of the department will be co-teaching the course in the fall semester.  


Faculty Achievements

Dr. Latha Rajan, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Tropical Medicine was honored as the Tulane Mortar Board Honor Society society's speaker this year. Every year, Tulane's Mortar Board Honor Society chooses one professor to address the question "If you knew you had one last lecture to give, what would it be?" This year, Dr. Rajan was their choic to give the "last lecture". Dr. Rajan's talk "Life as we don't know it"reflected on Dr. Rajan's discovery of how similar people are that she has worked with all over the world in spite of vast social and cultural differences.

Dr. Mark Wiser ,Associate Professor with special interest in the biology of parasites, particularly protozoa of medical importance, is the author of a new book Protozoa and Human Disease published by the Taylor Francis Group. To find out about Dr. Wiser's new book, click here.






Dr. Daniel Bausch


Dr. Daniel Bausch, Associate Professor in the Department of Tropical Medicine has accepted a secondment from Tulane to serve as the Director of the Emerging Infectious Department (EID) of the Naval Medical Research Unit-6 (NAMRU-6) based in Lima, Peru. Dr. Bausch will direct research and public health projects aimed at controlling emerging infectious diseases throughout Latin America such as influenza, dengue fever, and various hemorrhagic fever viruses and other zoonotic diseases. Although based in Peru, Dr. Bausch will keep a close connection with Tulane, returning frequently for teaching and service duties. He plans to expand and enrich the base of research operations that various Tulane faculty members have already created in Peru and Latin America with an active exchange of scientific collaborators and students working on diverse projects across the region.


Amongst Dr. Bausch's other achievements, he was recently invited to write an editorial for the Journal of Infectious Diseases (JID) on a publication about experimental Ebola virus infections in pigs. To read Dr. Bausch's editorial commentary click here.



Student and Postdoctoral Achievements




Starting at left top MSPH graduates: Cori Pflugradt, Rebecca Kreston, Megan Saunders, Rosie Chavez, Kelly San Miquel, John Kriese, Katie Theoktisto Shelby Lloyd & Steph Love


The 2011 commencement was a great success and the  Department of Tropical Medicine would like to congratulate all of our students on their hard work and contributions. 


Megan Saunders received the Ernest K.Faust Award for outstanding student in the masters of science in public health program in the Department of Tropical Medicine.


Raeed Ba Heleah received the Charles C. Bass Award for outstanding student in the masters of public health and tropical medicine program in the Department of Tropical Medicine.  


Congratulations to Jana Hambley for coming in 2nd place for the Delta Omega Eta Chapter annual poster contest.  Jana's title for her poster was "Traumatic Injuries and the Time for Transport to Definitive Care in Ballabgarh, India." Jana was mentored in her research by Dr. Latha Rajan.



Dr. Refilwe Sello,MPH &TM graduate & Dr. Richard Oberhelman, Professor and Director of the Diploma Course in Clinical Tropical Medicine & Traveler's Health

After completing her MPH&TM at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in December of 2010, Dr. Refilwe Sello has been in charge of the adolescent program at Botswana Baylor Children Center of Excellence, the first HIV excellence clinic in Africa. The clinic is a partnership between Botswana government and the Baylor International Pediatric Institute located in Houston, Texas. Dr. Sello's clinical duties include providing HIV screening, diagnosis, initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy, ART treatment follow-up and treatment of opportunistic infections and HIV co-morbidities including malaria, TB, pneumonia, cryptococcus meningitis, diarrheal illnesses, malnutrition and management of ART side effects.  Since returning back to Botswana, Dr. Sello has used all her skills from Tulane not only in clinical medicine but also to scale up public health interventions at the clinic and in the country.


Dr. Anusha Gopalakrishnan 



Anusha Gopalakrishnan, a postdoctoral fellow in the DTM (Kumar Lab) presented a poster on "Recombination Machinery in Plasmodium falciparum" at The Molecular Parasitology Meeting (MPM) from Sep. 11-15, 2011, held at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole, MA. This meeting gave her an opportunity to discuss her current and future research program that could set the stage for collaborative research endeavor with other national and international scholars.


 Anusha also did an oral presentation of this work at the The New Orleans Protein Folding Intergroup (NOProFIG), a biweekly meeting  dedicated primarily to the discussion of current research at New Orleans area academic research laboratories and to the dissemination of important research news from conferences and scientific literature.


Mark Rider, a PhD student in the DTM (Wesson lab)  presented his work on "Modeling aquatic habitat colonization in the Antimonite valley, Haiti" at the 77th Annual Meeting of The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA). This Meeting is the premier education and networking event for researchers, educators, vector control professionals, industry representatives, and students from North America and from other countries.   The AMCA recognizes individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the science of medical entomology, mosquito studies and public health; and to the development and implementation of control methods and/or equipment.



The Department of Tropical Medicine would like to welcome ALL incoming MSPH, MPHTM, Ph.D. and Diploma Course students.


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