ResearchAs a faculty member of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, my research focuses on the field of enteric infections, particularly cholera. Along with other colleagues in the Division, I collaborate with the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) on a large field study of Vibrio cholerae infection in an endemic setting. My particular interest is the identification of human genetic factors that relate to the risk of cholera in the Bangladeshi population.
International travel is the primary way many infections traverse the world. Despite these potential risks, a recent study conducted by the Division of Infectious Diseases found that 46 percent of travelers to resource-limited countries did not seek health advice or vaccinations prior to departure.
An international research team has used a novel approach to identify genetic factors that appear to influence susceptibility to cholera. The findings indicate the importance of pathways involved in regulating water loss in intestinal cells and of the innate immune system in the body's response to the bacteria that causes cholera.
Not only do U.S. travelers to West Africa who consult health providers before they leave and take prescribed preventive medications substantially reduce their risk of contracting malaria, they also reduce costs to their health insurance providers and, in most cases, to themselves.