Pathology Global Health Program Research Investigators

The most important illnesses on Earth—in terms of overall morbidity and mortality—are found in developing nations. These include the major infectious diseases (malaria, HIV, TB), complications of pregnancy and delivery, diarrheal illnesses, malnutrition and trauma. Fundamental questions of disease mechanisms and practical research on improved diagnosis and disease monitoring promise to be fruitful areas of investigation. Productive collaborative relationships already established by Mass General with overseas medical facilities enhance opportunities for successful research outcomes. For example, in the fall of 2010 Dr. Walter Dzik and colleagues completed a two-year clinical study of host blood groups as risk factors for cytoadherence in pediatric malaria. The study enrolled over 2,000 children with acute malaria, and resulted in six publications in peer-reviewed journals. In 2013, Dr. Dzik and colleagues began an NIH-sponsored randomized clinical trial of blood transfusion in children in Uganda with severe anemia. Information regarding this trial is registered at as: NCT01586923.

Health Care Delivery Research

Developing nations are especially disadvantaged by a lack of development in hospital-based pathology, especially Laboratory Medicine. There is enormous opportunity for research in laboratory diagnostics, appropriate laboratory utilization, quality methodology, result interpretation and reporting, informatics and laboratory management.

Infectious Disease Research Collaborations

Worldwide, the persistence of infectious diseases remains one of the most significant threats to the global health. The accurate identification of infectious pathogens is fundamental to ongoing research efforts and the delivery of effective health care.

Pathology’s Clinical Microbiology Laboratory collaborates with the Infectious Disease Division, and the Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT and Harvard. These groups have active research programs in sub-Saharan Africa (South Africa), Asia (Bangladesh, Vietnam and China) and South America (Peru). Investigators from these groups study a diverse array of pathogens including diarrheal pathogens, HIV-1 and Tuberculosis.

Clinical Microbiology

Our Clinical Microbiology laboratory frequently serves as a reference laboratory for these research projects. Eric Rosenberg, MD, Co-Director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory is also a member of the Infectious Disease Division, serving as a key collaborator within these groups, and as a bridge between the Infectious disease Division, Ragon Institute and the Mass General Pathology Service.

Overseas Collaborations

A central goal of our Global Health Program is to encourage Mass General pathologists to collaborate with overseas investigators—particularly those in Africa. In turn, we want to encourage overseas pathologists to join us in our research efforts. Visiting research positions may be offered as they become available.

Research Investigator Mentoring

Whenever possible, African pathologists are encouraged to take the lead in collaborations. Our pathologists may offer mentoring relationships when this is not practical.