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Reducing the Impact of Infectious Diseases by Supporting Trans-Disciplinary Academic Research


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Jennie Ma

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Jennie Ma is a Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Public Health Sciences and Department of Medicine at the University of Virginia. Trained in biostatistics and health informatics, Dr. Ma has engaged to biostatistical research in clinical and translational applications for more than 20 years. Her research interests focus on clinical outcomes research, survival analysis, longitudinal data analysis, clinical trials, and genetic epidemiology. She has served as PI or co-Investigator for various projects, and collaborated with numerous basic researchers and clinical investigators in a wide range of clinical applications with cutting-edge statistical methods, including nephrology, infectious diseases, cardiology, oncology, anesthesiology, diabetes and endocrinology, and drug addictions. She has provided sustaining biostatistical support in every stage of the clinical and translational research, such as study conception and design, data acquisition, decision of appropriate analytical methods, analysis and interpretation of data, and scientific reporting. She has served on a T32 training grant in Department of Medicine at the University of Virginia and mentored/co-mentored many graduate students, postdocs, residents and medical fellows, as well as junior faculties in quantitative clinical/biomedical research. In this proposed institute, she will work with the investigators in the unified Global Infectious Diseases community and contribute her biostatistical expertise to the research and training activities.

Barbara Mann

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Barbara Mann is an Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, Department of Medicine. Dr. Mann’s research expertise is in the pathogenicity of bacteria and parasitic diseases. Dr. Mann has worked extensively on the virulence mechanisms of the tropical enteric parasite Entamoeba histolytica. Her work on this parasite has included characterization of the major adhesin that mediates host attachment, vaccine studies, and work that led to the development of a diagnostic test. Dr. Mann, along with Dr. William Petri, received UVA’s Inventor of the year award for the invention that led to the production of a commercially available diagnostic kit for E. histolytica infection. Dr. Mann is co-director of two NIH training grants, Infectious Diseases and Biodefense and Emerging Infections, which support predoctoral and post-doctoral trainees. Dr. Mann is also chair of the Institutional Biosafety Committee, which is responsible for approving all research involving biohazardous material at UVA and has expertise in biosafety level three protocols and containment.

Madhav Marathe

Madhav Marathe

Madhav Marathe is a Division Director of the Computing, Simulations and Network Science Division at the Biocomplexity Institute and a Professor of Computer Science. From January 2005-September 2018, he was a Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. Concurrently, at Virginia Tech, he was the Deputy Director (2005-2014) and then the Director (2014-2018) of the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory at the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech. He obtained his Bachelor of Technology degree in 1989 in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and his Ph.D. in 1994 in Computer Science from the University at Albany -SUNY, under the supervision of Professors Harry B. Hunt III and Richard E. Stearns. Before coming to Virginia Tech in 2005, he worked in the Basic and Applied Simulation Science group (CCS-5) in the Computer and Computational Sciences division at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he was team leader in a theory-based, advanced simulation program to represent, design, and analyze extremely large socio-technical and critical infrastructure systems.  He holds adjunct appointments at the Chalmers University and  the Indian Institute of Public Health.


Achla Marathe

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Achla Marathe is a Professor at the Biocomplexity Institute, and at the Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, at the University of Virginia. She is a member of the Networks, Systems Science and Advanced Computing Division at the Biocomplexity Institute. Achla Marathe received her BA (Honors) in Economics from Delhi University, India, and a MS and PhD in Economics from the University at Albany, New York. Her research provides insights in controlling infectious disease outbreaks, identifying vulnerabilities and dependencies in infrastructural networks, and in planning for natural and human-initiated disasters. She has been using data analytics and data mining tools to address a variety of social and economic problems that include designing interventions to reduce health disparities; understanding feedback and coevolution between health behaviors and disease spread; social and economic effectiveness of interventions; and allocation of scarce medical resources. She develops computational models that measure economic and social impact of actions by decision-makers, individuals or cohorts, and provide ways to predict how policy will influence human behavior and vice versa. Before joining UVA, she was a Professor at Virginia Tech and the Lead Economist and Social Scientist at the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. Prior to her tenure at Virginia Tech, she worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for ten years, initially as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a technical staff member. She also served as a consultant at the World Bank.

Amy Mathers

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Amy Mathers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine. The urgent clinical problem of increasing carbapenem resistance in Enterobacteriaceae threatens the health of vulnerable patients around the world. The Mathers laboratory has been evaluating detection methods in clinical microbiology, nosocomial transmission dynamics and molecular transfer of carbapenemase genes in the hospital for the last eight years. Following a sabbatical at Oxford University, ongoing collaboration efforts have focused applying whole genome sequencing approach to disentangling horizontal gene transfer in nosocomial settings. Dr. Mathers has funded effort through formal collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluating the role of the hospital environment on contributing to acquisition of drug resistant gram negative bacteria in a simulated laboratory setting. She has been acting as a consultant to Public Health England for similar efforts. She has also written and received grants for cross campus collaboration with an active Coulter award software development for modeling hospital transmission of carbapenemase genes from the environment to patients. For this research Dr. Mathers collaborates with colleagues in Biomedical Engineering (Will Guilford and Jason Papin) and Systems Engineering (Laura Barnes), as well as other cross-Grounds collaborations.

Joann McDermid

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Joann M. McDermid is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health in the School of Medicine. As a registered dietitian, Dr. McDermid's research interests are focused on understanding complex relationships between malnutrition and infection diseases in a global context. Dr. McDermid has lived in The Gambia where she conducted research on host iron metabolism as a determinant of HIV-1 and HIV-2 mortality and tuberculosis susceptibility. Dr. McDermid has led studies characterizing the evolution of mature breast milk immunology, the consequences of maternal and fetal inflammation on growth outcomes, as well as identifying nutrition-related and other risk factors for maternal and early infancy Cryptosporidium infection using a maternal-infant mixed HIV-status cohort she established in the Kisesa region of northwestern Tanzania in conjunction with collaborators at the Mwanza Research Centre of the Tanzanian National Institute for Medical Research and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Since joining UVA in 2015, Dr. McDermid has expanded her research directions in infant health and development as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates-funded ELICIT (Early Life Interventions for Childhood Growth and Development in Tanzania) clinical trial set in rural Tanzania, and is developing a new line of inquiry examining breast milk immune cell transfer and infant outcomes with collaborators at INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale) in Montpellier, France.

Kathleen McManus

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Kathleen A. McManus is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, Department of Medicine. Dr. McManus’s research involves studying the impact of health policies on people living with HIV with the goal of helping to determine which health policies will help the United States end the HIV epidemic. She is passionate about evidence-informed health policy and strives to add to our knowledge in that area. Her work is at the intersection of big data, health outcomes, health services, health policy, and epidemiology. She has been awarded a K08 Mentored Career Development Award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study the effects of the Affordable Care Act on low-income people living with HIV and to quantify how health policy changes impact disparities in HIV care for African American people living with HIV. She has worked with undergraduate students, medical students, public policy and public health masters-level students, internal medicine residents, and infectious diseases fellow physicians on research projects and international electives.

Christian McMillen

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Christian McMillen is professor of history and the author of three books, Making Indian Law, Discovering Tuberculosis: A Global History, 1900 to the Present, and Pandemics: A Very Short Introduction. He regularly offers classes on the history of epidemics and pandemics, as well as American Indian history. He is currently working on a book on the history of global efforts to provide clean water and sanitation to the billions without either.

Daniel Mietchen

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Daniel Mietchen is a Senior Researcher at the Data Science Institute. Trained as a biophysicist, his research interests are mostly methodological in nature and span across biological scales in space and time, from viral replication to elephant vocalizations and sustainable development, from paleopathology to developmental disorders and music perception. The common denominator of these activities is data, and his focus is on how data and the associated workflows, infrastructures, standards and policies can be shared at scale with humans and machines throughout the research cycle as well as in humanitarian and educational contexts and for posterity. In particular, he is looking into mechanisms by which data arising from a given line of research or metadata about the associated ethical review processes can be made FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) and provided as Linked Open Data.

Wladek Minor

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Wladek Minor is a Professor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics. Dr. Minor’s laboratory investigates the structures of many protein targets that are important in infectious diseases. Their long-standing experience in developing tools for macromolecular crystallography tremendously benefits this endeavor. Dr. Minor is a member of NIAID Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID) Dr. Minor has developed and commercialized multiple large software packages for processing x-ray diffraction data and managing molecular structural databases, which have become the most frequently used software systems in protein crystallography. The papers describing these methods have now been cited over 30,000 times and the 1997 Methods in Enzymology paper is the 23rd most cited paper of all time, and the 7th most cited publication of the last 20 years. The data management systems LabDB and Unitrack, which track experimental details of protein production, structure determination and biochemical characterization pipelines from clone to refinement, may have tremendous long-term impacts on structural biology. Both systems may play a critical role in improving experimental reproducibility—the cornerstone of scientific research upon which all progress rests. The system tracks millions of experiments on tens of thousands of targets and uses methodologies that have more recently become known as “Big Data” techniques. Metal coordination in protein structures are analyzed in “CheckMyMetal”, which validates metal identification and refinement.

Emma Mitchell

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Emma Mitchell is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, and Director of the CNL/MSN Program, as well as the Assistant Director for Graduate Global Initiatives. Dr. Mitchell’s program of research centers on: global health disparities; women’s health; and the prevention, screening, and early detection of Human Papillomavirus-related cervical cancer in under- and never-screened women. She has pilot projects in rural far Southwest Virginia exploring innovative technology and delivery models aimed at increasing access to cervical cancer screening, and has led student research and educational initiatives in Nicaragua since 2008.

Christopher Moore

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Christopher C. Moore is an Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, Department of Medicine. Dr. Moore’s research involves studying sepsis pathophysiology with particular interest in the role of the innate immune system and sepsis pathophysiology, management, and outcomes of HIV infected patients in sub-Saharan Africa. He has written recently about the outcomes of patients with severe sepsis in Uganda as well as the immune response to experimental sepsis. In addition, he studies meningitis, tuberculosis, and malaria with partners in Uganda at the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST). He is a co-investigator on an NIH supported grant for work in tuberculosis and a training grant that includes work in malaria that both take place in Uganda. He has created a memorandum of understanding between UVa and MUST which allows for students, trainees, and faculty to collaborate freely between both universities.

Sean Moore

Sean R. Moore is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Research for the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology. Dr. Moore returns to the University of Virginia following 7 years on faculty at the University of Cincinnati, where he served as Associate Director for the Global Research Office at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the largest pediatric research facility in the nation. The long-term goals of Dr. Moore's research are to uncover underlying mechanisms of child undernutrition and enteric infections in developing countries and improve therapies to break their vicious cycle. Current global projects include: 1) IMAGINE, a collaboration with Dr. Aldo Lima of the Federal University of Ceará in Fortaleza, Brazil to define the dosing, efficacy, and mechanisms of a glutamine-based therapy for undernutrition in at risk children and 2) SEEM a collaboration with Dr. Asad Ali at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan to define the etiologies and histopathology of environmental enteropathy among a birth cohort in Matiari, Pakistan. In complementary work, Dr. Moore's laboratory is developing murine models of environmental enteropathy and human intestinal organoid models of host-microbe interactions.

Cameron Mura

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Cameron Mura is a Senior Scientist in Phil Bourne's Computational Biosciences Lab, based in the Dept of Biomedical Engineering and School of Data Science at UVA.  Mura's scientific background is mostly in biochemistry, crystallography and molecular simulations, and his main research interests are in the areas of structural biology, molecular biophysics and computational biology, particularly as regards the evolution of RNA-associated molecular machines, biomolecular assemblies, protein folds, and protein-protein interactions. More recent interests have included the data sciences and its attendant approaches (e.g., deep learning and other machine learning paradigms), chiefly as applied to the aforementioned scientific domains. Further information is available at

Noah Myung

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Noah Myung is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. His research interests include game theory, organizational economics, and financial economics, often utilizing tools from experimental economics and behavioral economics. His Department of Defense research interests include market design, focusing on issues in retention, compensation, and assignment. Dr. Myung is coordinating the creation of the Pandemic Student Simulation Competition in conjunction with the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), Spring 2018.