Examples of Projects

Kelly Bachta

Class of 2013 (F2)
MD/PhD: University of Washington
Mentor: John Mekalanos, Harvard Medical School, Department of Microbiology

Dr. Bachta received her MD and PhD from University of Chicago in 2010 and joined the Partners Infectious Disease Fellowship Program in 2013 after completion of an Internal Medicine residency at University of Washington. In 2014, she began research training under Dr. John Mekalanos, Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Bachta’s project focuses on understanding the mechanisms of drug efflux in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a highly drug resistant bacterial pathogen common in immunocompromised patients. She is working to design therapeutics that target these efflux pumps to restore antibiotic susceptibility in the most highly resistant pathogens. This work will provide her with training in the development of novel antimicrobial compounds, basic microbiology and molecular biology with the ultimate goal of clinical development of novel antimicrobial compounds.

Lisa Bebell

Class of 2012
MD: UCSF
Mentor: David Bangsberg, Harvard Global Health Institute

Lisa completed fellowship training in both infectious diseases and critical care medicine at Harvard in 2015. Her research interests focus on the intersection of these two disciplines, including sepsis, antimicrobial resistance, and other severe infections. Lisa has done research in Africa since 2005 and lived in Uganda since 2014. Her current research is focused on postpartum infections in low-resource settings, and Lisa is enrolling participants into a prospective cohort to study pregnancy-related infection in Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda. Lisa’s focus is on the epidemiology, microbiology and outcomes of these infections in resource-limited settings, interactions between postpartum infection and HIV, and emerging antimicrobial resistance. She is also conducting a study on Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) at the same hospital, studying the epidemiology of asymptomatic Staph carriage. Her primary research mentor is Dr. David Bangsberg, a physician trained in Infectious Diseases who also directs the Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Bangsberg has been working in Mbarara for over 10 years, and his mentorship of Lisa is complemented by mentorship from Dr. Laura Riley, Director of Labor and Delivery at MGH and dually trained in Obstetrics and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Joshua Metlay, Chief of General Medicine at MGH and an expert on the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance.

Mike Lobritz

Class of 2011 (F4)
MD/PhD: Case Western Reserve
Mentor: James Collins, Wyss Institute

Dr. Lobritz received his MD and PhD from Case Western Reserve in 2009 and joined the MGH/BWH Infectious Diseases program in 2011. After clinical training, Dr. Lobritz joined the research group of Dr. James J. Collins at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, the Institute for Medical Engineering and Sciences (IMES) at MIT, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. His research training is funded by the Wyss Institute’s Clinical Fellows Program, which pairs research fellows with core faculty members at Harvard’s Wyss Institute on the Longwood Medical Campus with the goal to create transformational bioinspired technologies to address unmet medical need. Dr. Lobritz’s research addresses both translational basic science questions, using systems biology to define bacterial responses to antibiotic exposure, as well as technology development, leveraging synthetic biology to develop methodologies for rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing. “Clinical fellowship in the MGH/BWH program opened up a broad, interdisciplinary network of research support for me across highly diverse scientific platforms – clinical expertise at the hospitals, genomic medicine at the Broad Institute, and bioengineering/technology development at the Wyss Institute and MIT, that are ntegrated into my research program.”

Chanu Rhee

Class of 2012 (Instructor)
MD: Stanford
Mentor: Richard Platt, BWH
  

Dr. Rhee began his ID fellowship in 2011 after completing his medical residency, chief residency, and critical care fellowship at Stanford. He is currently a critical care and infectious disease physician with a research interest in the epidemiology, surveillance, prevention, and treatment of infections in hospitalized and critically ill patients. During my fellowship, I worked with the Therapeutics Research and Infectious Disease Epidemiology group in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School / Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, under the mentorship of Drs. Richard Platt and Michael Klompas.  My primary research project is a multicenter observational study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at  1) demonstrating the limitations of using claims data to track trends in sepsis burden over time, and 2) exploring an alternate method for public health surveillance of sepsis using objective clinical data ascertainable from electronic health record systems.  During fellowship, I also obtained my MPH degree at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Gustavo Velásquez

Class of 2013 (F2)
MD: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Mentor: Megan Murray, Harvard Medical School, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine

Dr. Velásquez received his MD from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and his MPH from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2009. He completed the Doris and Howard Hiatt Residency in Global Health Equity and Internal Medicine at BWH in 2013. He joined the MGH/BWH Combined Infectious Diseases Fellowship in 2013, and began his research training under the mentorship of Dr. Megan Murray at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at HMS in 2014. Dr. Velásquez’s research focuses on identifying the predictors of mortality among HIV/TB co-infected patients treated for TB in Lima, Perú; evaluating the clinical relevance of routine phenotypic pyrazinamide drug susceptibility testing in MDR-TB; and assessing the effect of regimen composition on TB treatment outcomes in a large observational study of index TB cases and their household contacts in Lima, Perú.

Ana Weil

Class of 2013 (F2)
MD: Tufts
Mentor: Regina LaRocque and Jason Harris, MGH

Dr. Weil is originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, and attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate and Tufts University for medical school. As a current second year Infectious Disease Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, she is interested in infectious diseases that affect people living in poverty. As a medical student, I studied T cell responses to Vibrio cholerae and duration of V. cholerae shedding in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Currently, I am working to understand how the human gut microbiome affects susceptibility to V. cholerae infection by prospectively following household contacts of cholera patients. By identifying gut microbes through 16S rRNA sequencing in household contacts who either go on to develop cholera or remain uninfected, we can then individually test bacteria that may either promote or inhibit V. cholerae virulence. Additionally, we study the gut microbiome of the duodenum (which is the site of V. cholerae colonization) using duodenal biopsies, in addition to studying the gut microbiome we can detect in stool. My mentors are Dr. Regina LaRocque and Dr. Jason Harris, and we meet on a weekly basis for 1-2 hours to discuss ongoing projects, troubleshoot problems, and have meetings with our collaborators. I have really enjoyed working with faculty members that get into the lab with me but also give me independence in my work, introduce me to others in the field, and support me in applying for grants and pursuing my own areas of interest.