Department of
May 2013 Newsletter

Congratulations to all of the Department's students who graduated this May! We wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors, and we hope that you will keep in touch. You can let us know about your post-graduation adventures by filling out the School's alumni form here. DTM's graduates include:

Shaymaa Abdalal, MPHTM
Oluwasayo Akinyosoye, MSPH
Amira Alexander, MSPH
Allyson Bradley, MSPH
Julie Collins, MD-MPHTM
Nicole DeValle, MSPH
Kathryn Ehrhart, MSPH
Erin Fannin, MSPH
Christopher Goodenough, MD-MPHTM
Ngozi Jones, MSPH
Talubezie Kasongo, MSPH
Jacquelynn Kinard, MSPH
Sheku Komeh, MPHTM
Jeanne Krieger, MPHTM
Naomi Malam, MSPH
Joseph Molinari, MSPH
Emeka Okpalobi, MSPH
Michelle Parks, MSPH
Robin Pawlowski, MSPH
Jacey Pudney, MSPH
Andrew Ruiz, MSPH
Stephanie Zaas, MSPH
Jerry Zifodya, MPHTM
Joseph Wamala, MPHTM
Faculty Highlights
Dr. Latha Rajan, Associate Professor of Clinical Tropical Medicine, was selected to receive the Suzanne and Stephen Weiss Presidential Fellows Award for her excellence in undergraduate teaching, student advising, and instructional development. She will each receive a medallion, a cash award of $5,000 per year for four years, and the title of Suzanne and Stephen Weiss Presidential Fellow. We are very proud of Dr. Rajan for receiving this prestigious award!
DTM adjunct faculty Dr. Nancy Gore Saravia was selected to receive the 2013 Moselio Schaechter Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Saravia has won the award for her instrumental role in generating world-class leishmaniasis research in Colombia. Her team prospectively documented primary and secondary antimony resistance as contributing factors in treatment failure and conducted the first pharmacokinetic studies of antimony in children with cutaneous leishmaniasis after finding a high rate of treatment failure in children. Her findings are already impacting treatment policy in Colombia. We are glad that her worthwhile work is being recognized. Congratulations!
Student & Fellow Highlights

Lina Moses, PhD was recently selected to receive the Tulane University SPHTM Alumni Association Student Recognition Award for her outstanding school service, show of distinctive achievement, and leadership as a future alumna.  Lina completed her doctoral degree, and her dissertation research involved examining dispersal patterns in Mastomys natalensis (multimamate rat) and transmission of the Lassa fever virus in Sierra Leone, West Africa.  She also had a piece recently published in The Guardian. Check it out here.
PhD candidate Kristen Merino successfully defended her  prospectus! She has also received an award from the Center for Infectious Diseases to present a paper at the American Microbiology Society Meeting in Denver, Colorado.
Michael Deshotel, PhD was awarded a Post-doctoral fellowship with the Fogarty Global Health Fellows Program. This program is funded through a grant awarded to a consortium of four universities, of which Tulane University is a part. The fellowship is an 11-month mentored research training program, and Mike will be
studying at Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, Peru, conducting malaria vaccine research. For more information about the Fogarty Global Health Fellows Program, see their website
Recent DTM Publications


Bond N, Schieffelin JS, Moses LM, Bennett AJ, and
Bausch DG (2013). A Historical Look at the First Reported Cases of Lassa Fever: IgG Antibodies 40 Years after Acute Infection. Am J Trop Med Hyg 88(2):241-4


Kelly JD, Barrie MB, Ross RA, Temple BA, Moses LM, and Bausch DG (2013). Housing equity for health equity-A rights-based approach to the control of Lassa fever in post-war Sierra Leone. BMC Int Health Hum Rights 13(1):2
Tokarz R, Hirschberg DL, Sameroff S, Haq S, Luna G, Bennett AJ, Silva M, Leguia M, Kasper M, Bausch DG, and WI Lipkin (2013). Genomic analysis of two novel human enterovirus C genotypes found in respiratory samples from Peru. J Gen Virol 94:120-7
Reaves EJ, Kasper MR, Chimelski E, Klein ML, Valle R, Edgel KA, Lucas C, and Bausch DG (2012). Outbreak of gastrointestinal illness during Operation New Horizons in Pisco, Peru, July 2012. MSMR 19(10):17-9.
Montgomery JM, Blair PJ, Carroll DS, Mills JN, Gianella A, Iihoshi N, Briggiler AM, Burans JP, Felices V, Salazar M, Olson JG, Glabman RA, and Bausch DG (2012). Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Outbreak investigation and antibody prevalence study. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 6 (10): e1840-7.


Mlambo G, Coppens I, Kumar N. Aberrant sporogonic development of Dmc1 (a meiotic recombinase) deficient Plasmodium berghei parasites. PLoS One, 7(12): e52480 (2012).


Kumar S, Zheng H, Sangweme DT, Mahajan B, Kozakai Y, Pham PT, Morin MJ, Locke E, Kumar N. A chemiluminescent-western blot assay for quantitative detection of Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein. J. Immunol. Methods. 10: 1016/j/im.(2013).


Gopalakrishnan AM, Kundu AK, Mandal TK, Kumar N. Novel nanosomes for gene delivery to Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells. Scientific Reports (Nature). 3: 1534 (2013).


Gopalakrishnan AM, Kumar N. Opposing roles for two molecular forms of replication protein A in Rad51-Rad54- mediated DNA recombination in Plasmodium falciparum. mBio. 4: e00252-13 (2013).


Kumar R, Nyakundi R, Kariuki T, Ozwara H, Nyamongo O, Mlambo G, Ellefssen B, Hannaman D, Kumar N. Functional evaluation of malaria Pfs25 DNA vaccine by in vivp electroporation in olive baboons. Vaccine. . 2013 May 15. doi:pii: S0264-410X(13)00562-8. 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.05.006. [Epub ahead of print].


Li Y, Kumar N, Gopalakrshinan AM, Ginocch C, Lemiux B, Kung H.  Detection and species identification of malaria parasites by isothermal tHDA amplification directly from human blood without sample preparation. J. Mol. Diagnostics. (2013, in press)
DTM Happenings
Mardi Gras 2013
Check out the photos from the Department's King Cake Party here! 
2013 Louisiana Skeeter Run
Several people from the Department recently participated in the 2013 Louisiana Skeeter Run, a 5K run to support the Imagine No Malaria project. Congratulations to Assistant Professor Dr. Juan Pizarro who won first place in his category! Check out photos from the race here.
Spring Potluck
The Department had a Spring Potluck on Thursday, April 25 to celebrate the end of the semester and congratulate all graduating students. Faculty, staff, and students took a break to share their favorite dishes and enjoy conversation. 
Alumni Activity
DTM alumnus Dr. Scott Kellerman returns to Tulane
Dr. Scott Kellermann, an alumnus of the Department of Tropical Medicine (MD-MPHTM, 1978), recently visited Tulane to discuss practicum opportunities at the Bwindi Community Hospital in Uganda and to give a student presentation titled, "Public Health in the Land of the Batwa Pygmies." Dr. Kellermann works with the indigenous Batwa Pygmy tribes of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. He has initiated projects to  establish a hospital and community health clinics, buy land, build homes and schools, introduce water and sanitation programs, work on income generation, and promote indigenous rights.
Dr. Ousmane Koita gives seminar at Tulane
DTM alumnus Dr. Ousmane Koita (PhD, 2000) visited Tulane in May to give a special seminar titled, "How Do Human Pathogens Expand Their Genetic Diversity Under Conditions of Natural Transmission?" Since his graduation from Tulane, Dr. Koita has returned to Mali where he has founded the Laboratory of Applied Molecular Biology at the Faculty of Science, has performed a series of studies on the epidemiology, transmission, and treatment of malaria and is now Professor of Molecular Biology and Medicine at the University of the Sciences, Techniques, and Technologies of Bamako.

Check out our alumni webpage for updates about what DTM graduates are up to!
Get to Know Your Colleague!
From the Wesson lab...
Dr. Justin Davis and Dr. Claudia Herrera have joined the Department as Post-Doctoral Fellows in Dr. Dawn Wesson's lab. Here's a bit about each of them:
Claudia Herrera was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia and got her Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, and first PhD from Los Andes University, and her second PhD at Valencia University. She hopes to introduce standardization in the techniques used in the genotyping of T. cruzi in the Chagas disease molecular epidemiology laboratory. She would also like to evaluate the therapeutic use of drugs for Chagas already approved by the FDA for other uses. While she admits that she spends most of her free time writing, Claudia enjoys dancing around New Orleans and experiencing different cultures through her travels.
Justin Davis studied Mathematics at Duke University and the University of Central Florida, where his research involved the application of computational Bayesian statistics to electrocommunicative fish in the Amazon Basin. In Dr. Wesson's lab, he is providing statistical support, primarily on questions of vector ecology, and he looks forward to assisting in data analysis and learning biology while doing it. A piece of advice from Justin: "Please don't ask statisticians to play games of chance. We'll pull out our calculators and ruin the party."
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