Search This Site

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


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

View All

Rebecca Scharf

No Profile Photo Available

Rebecca Scharf is a developmental pediatrician at the University of Virginia’s Center for Global Health. She is interested in the care of children with disabilities around the world. Clinically she directs four clinics at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital: 1) Myelomeningocele, 2) Pediatric Muscular Dystrophy and Neuromuscular Disorders, 3) Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Congenital Cardiac Disease and 4) International Child Development. With regards to educational responsibilities, Dr. Scharf has the privilege of teaching first year medical students about malnutrition, medical complexity and child development. Dr. Scharf’s research involves examining the developmental outcomes of early childhood malnutrition and enteric disease. She examines interactions between infectious diseases, malnutrition and environment, and studies how these relate to early childhood growth and stimulation. She is interested in finding ways to promote early childhood development so children have the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.

China Scherz

No Profile Photo Available

China Scherz is a medical anthropologist who has been conducting ethnographic research in Uganda since 2007. She is especially interested in the impact of infectious diseases on children’s well-being and how infectious diseases outcomes are impacted by risky behaviors. Her first book Having People, Having Heart: Charity, Sustainable Development, and Problems of Dependence in Central Uganda (University of Chicago Press, 2014) focused on the tensions between different approaches to caring for orphaned children, many of whom were orphaned by their parents’ deaths from HIV/AIDS. She is currently leading a collaborative ethnographic study of alcohol use and recovery in Uganda. While high levels of alcohol consumption have been of increasing interest to medical researchers seeking to better understand diseases including HIV, tuberculosis, cancer, and other diseases in Uganda and in sub-Saharan Africa, this study will provide the first extended analysis of contemporary modes of conceptualizing and addressing problem-drinking in an African context. In addition to her academic work, she also served as a project manager for an anti-retroviral adherence and directly observed therapy program for the Boston based PACT project of Partners In Health from 2002-2004.

Heman Shakeri

No Profile Photo Available

Heman Shakeri is an Assistant Professor in the School of Data Science. His research revolves around studying structure and function of complex interconnected systems and networks. Dr. Shakeri is interested in developing data-driven solutions to characterize temporal interactions of antimicrobial resistance within and between bacterial species and optimizing strategies to mitigate/boost spreading processes/behaviors in heterogeneous populations.

Rathina Kumar Shanmuga Kani

No Profile Photo Available

Rathina Kumar Shanmuga Kani is a Research Associate in the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. His research interest includes point-of-care diagnostics development, antimicrobial resistance, characterization of novel resistance genes, and molecular epidemiology. He has substantial experience in the development and evaluation of PCR- and isothermal amplification-based molecular diagnostics for antimicrobial-resistant infections at the point-of-care. He has developed PCR-dipstick detection tests for several antimicrobial-resistant pathogens including colistin- and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci. GeneFields CPE, one of the molecular diagnostics that he has developed for the rapid detection of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae is commercially available as a diagnostic kit in Japan. Currently, he is involved in the development of point-of-care diagnostic kits for viral infections but not limited to COVID-19. On the other hand, he studies the impact of bile acids on persister cells for recurrent C. difficile infection.




John Shepherd

No Profile Photo Available

John R. Shepherd is a social anthropologist with interests in population history, anthropological demography, disease history, Chinese societies, and the social history of Taiwan. His current research with relevance to Global Infectious Diseases includes the impact of the 1918 influenza pandemic in East Asia and the role of smallpox variolation and vaccination in the control of smallpox in late 19th and early 20th century Taiwan. Previous publications include historical demographic studies of trends in and regional variation in causes of death and mortality in early 20th century Taiwan, high fertility and maternal and infant mortality in early 20th century Taiwan, marriage and abortion practices among the Austronesian Siraya of Taiwan in the 17th century, and the impact of sojourning on demographic characteristics of Chinese immigrant populations. Dr. Shepherd’s courses include Anth 3130/7130: Disease, Epidemics and Society, and Forum 1500: Epidemics.

Lois Shepherd

No Profile Photo Available

Lois Shepherd is the Peter A. Wallenborn, Jr. and Dolly F. Wallenborn Professor of Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia, where she directs the programs in law and medicine at the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities. She is also a Professor of Public Health Sciences and Professor of Law at the University of Virginia. She is the co-author of a leading casebook, Bioethics and the Law (3rd ed. Wolters Kluwer), as well as the author of If That Ever Happens to Me: Making Life and Death Decisions After Terri Schiavo (2009) and numerous law review and medical journal articles on law and medicine, including reproductive medicine, disability, end-of-life decision-making, and research ethics.

Costi Sifri

No Profile Photo Available

Costi Sifri is an infectious diseases physician and Hospital Epidemiologist for the UVA Health System (UVAHS). His research program is focused on exploring the molecular and clinical epidemiology of transmission of multidrug resistant organisms (MDROs) in the hospital environment and the development of novel intervention strategies to reduce or halt their spread. Working with Dr. Amy Mathers and multiple UVAHS partners, his group has used a combination of classic epidemiologic investigation and innovative genetic and genomic tools to describe the institutional and regional emergence of CRE. As the UVHS Hospital Epidemiologist, Dr. Sifri is also responsible for lead preparedness and planning effort for the Health System for emerging infectious diseases of significant epidemiologic importance, such as Ebola virus disease. Due to their very nature, emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola and Zika represent numerous opportunities for international research collaboration and training. As one example, Hospital Epidemiology worked with the UVA Center for Telehealth to develop in-hospital telemedicine for patients admitted to the UVA Special Pathogens Unit with suspected Ebola virus disease. The Institute of Global Infectious Diseases would enable Dr. Sifri, his research group, and the Office of Hospital Epidemiology to continue to pursue important questions regarding the emergence and spread of MDROs around the globe. In addition, Dr. Sifri anticipates this infrastructure could be leveraged for research and education efforts directed towards emerging infectious disease as they arise around the globe, especially those that have the risk of becoming epidemiologically important in Virginia, such as Ebola, MERS-CoV, or most recently Zika virus.

Jim Smith

No Profile Photo Available

Jim Smith is the Henry L. Kinnier Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Smith’s research focuses on developing appropriate technologies to improve water quality for the global poor. Globally, over 3 billion people do not receive water at the level of service we experience here the USA. As a result, over 2 million children die annually from ingestion of waterborne pathogens and the associated gastrointestinal infections, dehydration, and malnutrition. Countless more children suffer from growth stunting and cognitive impairment. In the absence of centralized water treatment and distribution systems, the World Health Organization has suggested that the best opportunity is to develop technologies that treat water right before consumption (e.g. at the household or point-of-use level). However, this is a difficult design problem as the inventions must be technologically effective, socially acceptable, extremely inexpensive, and simple to use. However, success in developing these appropriate technologies will result in countless lives saved by reducing infections by waterborne pathogens throughout the developing world.

Lindsay Somerville

No Profile Photo Available

Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, School of Medicine

Lindsay Somerville is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and the Associate Director of the adult Cystic Fibrosis (CF) medicine program. She is a physician-scientist based in Dr. Tom Braciale’s lab in the Carter Immunology Center. Her research focuses on infection-mediated acute lung injury, especially virology, and the processes that lead to loss-of-function. Her clinical research includes infection surveillance monitoring in CF and non-CF bronchiectasis. She is currently investigating cell-cell signaling and the effects of influenza virus on human alveolar macrophages and alveolar epithelial cells, and is currently developing a model to investigate in vitro inflammatory mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and private foundations.

Nathan Swami

No Profile Photo Available

Nathan Swami is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Swami’s work on microfluidic diagnostic and co-culture systems for the control of infections is well matched to the proposed Institute of Global Infectious Disease. Current microbiological analysis approaches to detect infectious pathogens and identify therapies are focused on time-consuming and costly methods based on animal models or adhesion assays that reduce the number of experimental permutations that can be studied. His research group is focused on label-free microfluidic approaches for highly parallelized microbial manipulation, electroporation and analysis of microbes, with single-cell sensitivity. Specifically, Dr. Swami’s group utilizes the characteristic intracellular electrophysiology arising from the phenotypic differences between cells to identify subpopulations using single-cell impedance cytometry for enabling spatially localized microfluidic enrichment and biomarker analysis.

Sana Syed

No Profile Photo Available

Sana Syed is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology. Dr. Syed has recently joined the University of Virginia faculty after completing fellowships in Pediatric GI (Emory) and Advanced Nutrition (Boston Children's/ Harvard Medical School). The long-term goals of Dr. Syed's research work are to understand intestinal function in the setting of poor oral vaccine immunogenicity and recurrent enteric infections in undernourished children living in low- and middle- income countries. Prior and current global projects include: 1) Investigation of biomarkers of gut function in infants at risk of growth faltering in Tanzania and Pakistan, her fellowship project mentored by Drs. Chris Duggan (Boston) and Asad Ali (Pakistan); and 2) SEEM, a collaboration with PIs Drs. Sean Moore (UVa) and Asad Ali (Pakistan) at the Aga Khan University in Karachi to define the etiologies and histopathology of environmental enteropathy among a birth cohort in a rural village in Pakistan.