Department of
Winter 2013 Newsletter

Season's greetings!
Congratulations to all of our students who are graduating this semester:

Kathleen Rees, MSPH

Emma Fritzen, MSPH

Kristopher Kovac, MSP

Lauren Lawres, MSPH

Elisha Lopez, MSPH

Johanna Ravenhurst, MSPH

Kristina Angelo, MPHTM

Mark Rider, PhD


We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, and we hope you will keep in touch!

Faculty Highlights
Clinical Associate Professor Susan McLellan, MD was elected President of the American Committee on Clinical Tropical Medicine and Travelers' Health (ACCTMTH), which is the clinical committee of the ASTMH. She will replace former DTM faculty Richard Oberhelman, MD, who currently serves as President of the committee.
Student Highlights
Doctoral student Dibya Datta successfully defended her prospectus. Congrats, Dibya!
Get to Know Your Colleague
Meet Virginia Belloni, PhD. She is a Post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Scaraffia's lab. Her research interests include how ecological and physiological factors affect organism development and mechanisms of adaptation, contributing to the individual fitness and survival. Currently, she is investigating the nitrogen metabolism in Aedes aegypti. Virginia was born in Rome, Italy, and in her spare time she enjoys movies, music, food, friends, and just soaking up the sights and sounds (with camera in hand).
Avik Biswas, PhD is working as a Post-doctoral Fellow in Dr. Kumar's lab. Avik has joined us from Kolkata, West Bengal, India. He earned his PhD at the University of Calcutta, where his research focused on sero-epidemiological and molecular characterization of HBV and HCV strains circulating among Eastern Indian cariers, host genome variability related to viral susceptibility, and innate and adaptive immune regulations against viral infections.
Yi Cao, MD, PhD has joined Dr. Kumar's lab as a Post-doctoral Fellow. He comes to us from
 Shanghai, China, and his research interests include malarial host-parasite interactions and vaccine development. When he's not in the lab, Yi enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, reading history books and biographies, and playing table tennis (he's currently looking for a partner, so if you are interested in playing, let him know!).
Meet Erin Cloherty, MSPH. She has joined us as a Laboratory Technician in Dr. Colpitts' lab. Erin earned her MSPH here in the Department and worked in a vector biology lab while a graduate student, then moved to the Epidemiology Department to work on the NO-ROACH study. She is happy to be back in DTM where she can continue with mosquito research.
DTM Happenings
The XXI Congress of the Latinoamerican Federation of Parasitology
The Department of Tropical Medicine co-sponsored an International Workshop on Molecular Epidemiology of Parasites and Dengue in Guayaquil, Ecuador as part of the XXI Congress of the Latinoamerican Federation of Parasitology (FLAP), held October 2-5. A scholarship from FLAP to attend the meeting was awarded to a Tulane undergraduate student. DTM Post-doctoral fellow Dr. Claudia Herrera and Dr. Yim Wong of the National Institute of Health of Ecuador coordinated the workshop. Of the seven course instructors, four represented DTM: Dr. Dawn Wesson, Dr. Claudia Herrera, Sam Jameson, and adjunct faculty Dr. Eric Dumonteil.

Dr. Herrera received an honorary medal on behalf of Tulane for the University's excellent course and active participation in the event.
ASTMH annual meeting
Several of our faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and students participated in the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Dr. Patricia Scaraffia served as chair of a section titled, "Mosquitoes: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Molecular Genetics I."

You can read DTM Associate Professor Daniel Bausch's reflections on the meeting on the ASTMH tumblr page. 
Holiday potluck
Earlier this month the department held its annual Holiday Potluck. We are grateful to enjoy such rich cultural diversity among our faculty, staff, and students, and this potluck gives everyone the opportunity to share the culinary traditions of their homeland. You can check out photos of the event here
Pizarro, J. C. et al. Exploring the Trypanosoma brucei Hsp83 Potential as a Target for Structure Guided Drug Design. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7, e2492 (2013).

Neculai, D. et al incl. Pizarro, J.C.Structure of LIMP-2 provides functional insights with implications for SR-BI and CD36. Nature 504, 172-176 (2013).  


Rider, MA, Zou J, Vanlandingham D, Nuckols JT, Higgs S, Zhang Q, Lacey M, Kim J, Wang G, Hong YS.Quantitative proteomic analysis of the Anopheles gambiae (Diptera: Culicidae) midgut infected with o'nyong-nyong virus. J Med Entomol. 2013 Sep;50(5):1077-88.  

Alumni Spotlight
Alumnus visits DTM
Dr. Gregory Jennings (PhD, 2001) visited the Department and met with Drs. Mark Wiser and Nirbhay Kumar during a recent trip to New Orleans. Dr. Jennings works with the World Health Organization as a technical officer in the Emerging Diseases Surveillance and Response Unit in Laos. Together with the Ministries of Health, he and his team coordinate aid and put together disease control programs with a primary goal of reducing the mortality rate by training healthcare workers, encouraging community mobilization, and strengthening vector control programs. Dr. Jennings said that his time as a student in DTM helped prepare him for this work by providing a strong background in classical parasitology, helminthology, and protozoology, but also said that the opportunities for practical experience were just as helpful. While he was a doctoral student he worked with the Mosquito Control Board, and this exposure to vector control strategy helped him tackle the issues his team encounters in Laos. He urges current students to take advantage of these practical opportunities to gain research experience and focus on basic lab and clinical services to find creative approaches to public health problems. 
Where in the world is Trop Med?
Student helps establish lab at Peace Corps site 
MSPH student Matthew Ward is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Central Region, Ghana, where he is working to establish a basic diagnostics lab relying primarily on microscope based blood work and rapid tests. The lab will be the only one of its kind in the district other than the district hospital which is about an hour away, so its location will reduce the economic burden on patients of rural communities northwest of the River Pra. It will be housed in an existing room in the Morkwa Community Clinic, and renovations are currently underway. The project is being funded through a USAID/Peace Corps SPA Grant along with a 25% community contribution.
In this issue...

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Dr. Don Krogstad and Dibya at  the ASTMH meeting

Dr. Claudia Herrera, Post-doctoral Fellow

Joni and Erin at the Department's first
Happy Hour

Dr. Eric Dumonteil,
adjunct professor, presenting at FLAP conference

Dr. Susan McLellan and former DTM faculty Dr. Young Hong at ASTMH annual meeting

Elizabeth and Chris at the holiday potluck

Trevor enjoys the holiday potluck

Clint and Dibya enjoy downtime at ASTMH

Josh and Lauren at the potluck

Claudia meets with fellow researchers at the FLAP

Have news that you would like to be included in the next newsletter? If so, e-mail Joni Emmons (