When people who have been cured of tuberculosis (TB) re-develop the disease, are they relapsing or fighting a new strain? How often should HIV/AIDS patients be tested to see if antiretroviral treatment is working?
These questions are being explored by doctoral candidates Ellen “Ellie” Caniglia and Richa Gawande, who are conducting infectious disease studies at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). For both Caniglia and Gawande, the scientific explorations reflect their desire to find answers to urgent public health questions that they hope will lead to new ways to treat and prevent infectious diseases, especially those impacting impoverished countries.
“Infectious diseases disproportionately affect developing nations. I’ve always been drawn to work on problems that impact poor populations,” said Gawande, who has seen firsthand the problems of global health inequities during travels to India and Haiti. “I want to be part of the collective effort to understand, treat, and prevent disease,” she said. Her interests ultimately led Gawande to HSPH where she is enrolled in the Ph.D. Program in the Biological Sciences in Public Health and works in the laboratory of Sarah Fortune, Melvin J. and Geraldine L. Glimcher Associate Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases.