Kyeen Mesesan, an M.D./Ph.D. student studying microbial diseases in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, received a predissertation fellowship from the Yale Center for International and Area Studies that allowed her to spend five weeks in South Africa last summer. While there, she was at the HIV/AIDS Vaccine Division in the Perinatal HIV Research Unit of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, the site of the first HIV vaccine trials in South Africa.
Mesesan evaluated the site for a dissertation project involving mathematical modeling of a partially effective HIV vaccine and the resulting policy implications for South Africa. She also developed a survey to assess sexual risk-taking behavior in vaccine trial participants, who will be monitored throughout the trials to ensure that such behavior does not increase.