Robert Heimer PhD, MSc

Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Pharmacology; Director, Emerging Infections Program

Departments & Organizations

Office of International Medical Student Education

Office of Student ResearchHIV/AIDSPharmacology | School of Public Health: Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases; Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS; Global Health Concentration; Connecticut Emerging Infections Program; Heimer Lab - HIVMolecular Virology


Dr. Heimer's major research efforts include scientific investigation of the mortality and morbidity associated with injection drug use. Areas of investigation include syringe exchange programs, virus survival in syringes, hepatitis B vaccination, hepatitis C transmission risks, overdose prevention and resuscitation, and pharmacological treatment of opiate addiction. His research combines laboratory, operational, behavioral, and structural analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programs in preventing the negative medical consequences of injection drug use. Dr. Heimer is Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Methods Core at Yale’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA). His current work focuses on the contexts and consequences of drug abuse in the U.S. and Russia and attempts to provide health and prevention practitioners with information needed to assist their educational and advocacy efforts.

Dr. Heimer is also the Director of the Yale office of the Connecticut Emerging Infections Program. This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded program is one of eleven programs nationwide that seek to assess, through population-based surveillance, the public health impact of emerging infectious diseases and to evaluate methods for their prevention and control in the community. The Yale program currently focuses on chronic liver disease (especially hepatitis C), foodborne illnesses, and respiratory illnesses (especially influenza, Lyme disease, and the prevention of human papillomavirus infections.

Dr. Heimer received his training in molecular biology and pharmacology at Columbia College (BA) and Yale University (MA, PhD). He began his work on the prevention of HIV among injection drug users in 1990 with an evaluation of the city-run New Haven needle exchange program and his work on emerging infections in 1995 with studies of the tick-borne agent of human ehrlichiosis.


  • B.A., Columbia University , 1974
  • M.Sc., Yale University , 1980
  • Ph.D., Yale University , 1988

Selected Publication

  • Beletsky L, Grau LE, White E, Bowman S, Heimer R. (2012) Prevalence, characteristics, and predictors of police training initiatives by US SEPs: building an evidence base for structural interventions. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 119:145-149.
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