Current PhD Students

Please note: This directory does not include all the current PhD students in this department.

Alexander R. Bazazi

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Year started: 2012

E-mail: alexander.bazazi@yale.edu

Research interest:
Alexander Bazazi is in the MD-PhD Program at YSM and the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at YSPH. His research focuses on quantitative methods for evaluating harm reduction interventions and characterizing the epidemiology of HIV among people who inject drugs. Currently, he is studying the epidemiology of HIV among people who inject drugs in Malaysia and is evaluating a drug treatment intervention for incarcerated opioid-dependent individuals living with HIV. Alex has methodological interests in techniques for generalizing randomized controlled trial findings, drawing causal inference with observational data, and network-based sampling methods.


Megan Cahill

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Year started: 2014

E-mail: megan.cahill@yale.edu

Research interest:
My research interests broadly include the spread of infectious agents through populations and the interventions that seek to limit or reverse epidemic spread. I am most interested in the transmission of infectious agents and the variability of immune responses to pathogens.



Javier Cepeda

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Year started: 2011

E-mail: javier.cepeda@yale.edu

Research interests:
I am interested in the intersection of substance abuse, infectious disease, and criminal justice settings in Russia and the United States. My dissertation focuses on the post-incarceration risk environment facing people who inject drugs in St. Petersburg, Russia. I am using both quantitative and qualitative methods to understand the risk of relapse to injection opioid use, overdose, and other high-risk behaviors following release from incarceration. My other side projects include looking at the effect of treatment of multiple comorbidities among HIV positive prisoners in Connecticut.


Louis Fazen

Year started: 2009

E-mail: louis.fazen@gmail.com

Research summary:
Louis’ research focuses on quality improvement in the delivery of community-based primary healthcare services through the implementation of information and clinical decision support (CDS) systems. His PhD research was conducted in Kenya, where he developed and implemented a cluster-randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of mobile phone-based CDS tools to improve the community-based delivery of reproductive and pediatric primary care services. Following focus group discussions, in-depth interviews and regular meetings with CHVs from the Kosirai District, Louis developed a suite of software applications and a digital resource library to help CHVs organize longitudinal data for individual clients, pre-populate electronic forms with previously filled demographic data, encrypt and store electronic data locally, and transmit data to AMPATH’s existing OpenMRS Electronic Medical Record system for aggregation, analysis, and use by other clinicians. By integrating data from the central EMR with the Android devices, Louis was able to run CDS algorithms and deliver point-of-care clinical decision support for both data collection and dissemination of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials. This ‘SmartForm’ system alerted CHVs in the field not only to visit and collect specific data elements on specific individuals from their community, but further prompted CHVs to disseminate specific IEC materials (such as web pages or videos) and to make appropriate referrals based on the patient characteristics and the health information collected during each visit. All of the software produced for this project is open-source and can be found on github. Louis is currently conducting the final qualitative and quantitative data analysis while completing his MD degree at the Yale School of Medicine. 

Website: https://github.com/bfazen


Meagan C Fitzpatrick

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Year started: 2008

E-mail: meagan.fitzpatrick@yale.edu

Research interest:
The goal of my research is to describe the transmission of infectious diseases and to evaluate active or potential control strategies. I am particularly interested in interventions which may provide extraordinary value for the investment, and accordingly my work has tended to focus on vaccines, vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, neglected tropical diseases, and high-risk communities. I use dynamic transmission models to answer questions about the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of these control policies. I aim to produce clear analyses that are relevant and useful for public health   policymakers, both nationally and internationally. My dissertation focuses specifically on proxy vaccination strategies, such as the vaccination of dogs to protect humans from rabies.

Selected publications

  • Fitzpatrick, MC; Hampson, K; Cleaveland, S; Mzimbiri, I; Lankester, F; Lembo, T; Meyers, LA; Paltiel, AD; Galvani, AP. (2014) Cost-effectiveness of canine vaccination to prevent human rabies in rural Tanzania. Annals of Internal Medicine. 160(2): 91 – 100
  • Fitzpatrick, MC; Hampson, K; Cleaveland, S; Meyers, LA; Townsend, JP; Galvani, AP. (2012) Potential for rabies control through dog vaccination in wildlife-abundant communities of Tanzania. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 6(8): e1796

Julie R. Gaither

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Year started: 2009

E-mail: julie.gaither@yale.edu

Research interest:
Through an academic career in health-services research, my overarching aim is to develop a body of work that will translate into improved quality of care and outcomes for vulnerable patient groups. Specifically, my goal is to contribute to the field of substance abuse research through a focus on patients who are at elevated risk for adverse events related to poor quality of care, patients such as the mentally ill, veterans, and those infected with HIV. To this end, through my dissertation research, I am examining quality of pharmacotherapy among HIV-infected and uninfected veterans receiving prescription opioids long-term for chronic pain.


Jennifer A. Gilbert

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Year started: 2010

E-mail: jennifer.gilbert@yale.edu

Research interest:
My dissertation work focuses on evaluating the epidemiological impact and cost-effectiveness of public health interventions on the tuberculosis (TB) and HIV epidemics in South Africa. Additional graduate research projects use mathematical modeling to analyze infectious disease-focused public health interventions and make recommendations regarding health policy and decision-making. Projects include: applying probabilistic uncertainty analysis to epidemiological models of disease transmission using influenza as an example, predicting the impact of novel sleeping sickness interventions on the trypanosomiasis epidemic in Uganda, and investigating the effects of vaccination on hookworm infection in Zanzibar. 

Selected publications:

  • Gilbert JA, Meyers LA, Galvani AP and Townsend JP. Probabilistic Uncertainty Analysis of Epidemiological Modeling to Guide Public Health Intervention Policy. Epidemics 2014;6:37-45. 
  • Mbah MN, Gilbert JA, and Galvani AP. Evaluating the potential impact of mass praziquantel administration for HIV prevention in schistosoma haematobium high-risk communities. Epidemics 2014;7:22-27.

Gregg Gonsalves

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Year started: 2011

E-mail: gregg.gonsalves@yale.edu

Research interest:
Operations research; mathematical modeling; cost-effectiveness; stochastic processes; HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis; harm reduction and substance use; access to medicines; health and human rights.

Selected publications:

  • S. Keshavjee., M. Harrington, G. Gonsalves, L. Chesire, and P. E. Farmer. Time for zero deaths from tuberculosis. Lancet (2011) 378: 1449-1450.
  • G. Gonsalves, E. Kaplan, D. Paltiel. Reducing sexual violence by increasing the supply of toilets in Khayelitsha, South Africa: a mathematical model, 2012, submitted.

Joseph Lewnard

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Date started: 2013

E-mail: joseph.lewnard@yale.edu

Research interest:
I am interested in endemic and epidemic dynamics of infectious diseases, and relatedly in Bayesian and maximum likelihood methods for parameter estimation in partially-observed systems. In my dissertation work I seek to contribute a differential equation modeling framework linking within-host competition to inter-host transmission dynamics of Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Selected publications

  • Lewnard JA, Ndeffo Mbah ML, Alfaro-Murillo JA, Altice FL, Bawo L, Nyenswah TG, Galvani AP. Dynamics and control of Ebola virus transmission in Montserrado, Liberia: a mathematical modelling analysis. Lancet Infect Dis 2014. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(14)70995-8.
  • Lewnard JA, Jirmanus L, Nery Júnior N, Machado PR, Glesby MJ, Ko AI, Carvalho EM, Schriefer A, Weinberger DM. Forecasting temporal dynamics of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Northeast Brazil. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2014. In press.

Kelsey Loeliger

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Year started: 2013

E-mail: Kelsey.loeliger@yale.edu

Research interest:
Kelsey Loeliger was admitted to MD/PhD program in 2011, affiliating with the Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases Department in 2013 after three years of medical school. She is interested in conducting clinical and community-based research with an emphasis on marginalized populations and the social constructs surrounding infectious diseases. Her work is aimed at developing a better understanding of the many interconnected factors that play a role in the prevention, progression, transmission, and treatment of these diseases. Her most recent ongoing research with Dr. Gerald Friedland and Dr. Sheela Shenoi explores the personal and systematic barriers HIV+ patients face with regard to initiating and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Under the direction of Dr. Frederick Altice, current areas of interest also include women with substance use disorders in Malaysia and how the interplay between substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, mental health disorders, and violence as well as other social circumstances impact the health of the individual. Prior to joining the MD/PhD program, Kelsey earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences from University of Maryland-Baltimore County where she studied the retroviral mechanism for genome packaging in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute biochemistry laboratory of Dr. Michael Summers. After graduating, she worked as a post-baccalaureate research fellow (IRTA) at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute where she conducted translational research on the role of chronic inflammation in Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Aplastic Anemia.

Selected Publications:

  • Al-Darraji, H. A., Wong, K. C., Yeow, D. G., Fu, J. J., Loeliger, K., Paiji, C., Kamarulzaman, A., Altice, F. L. (2014). Tuberculosis screening in a novel substance abuse treatment center in Malaysia: implications for a comprehensive approach for integrated care. J Subst Abuse Treat, 46(2), 144-149. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2013.08.023 
  • Zhao, Y. O., Kurscheid, S., Zhang, Y., Liu, L., Zhang, L., Loeliger, K., & Fikrig, E. (2012). Enhanced survival of Plasmodium-infected mosquitoes during starvation. PLoS One, 7(7), e40556. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040556

Olga Morozova

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Year started: 2013

E-mail: olga.morozova@yale.edu

Research interest:
Interface between substance abuse and infectious diseases; provision of integrated care to people who suffer from HIV, TB, and HCV co-morbidities; interventions research and implementation science; cost-effectiveness evaluation; regulatory affairs; global health.

Selected publications

  • MOROZOVA, O., DVORYAK, S. & ALTICE, F.L. 2013. Methadone Treatment Improves Tuberculosis Treatment Among Hospitalized Opioid Dependent Patients in Ukraine. International Journal of Drug Policy. 24(6): e91-e98. 
  • MOROZOVA, O., AZBEL, L., GRISHAEV, Y., DVORYAK, S., WICKERSHAM, J. A. & ALTICE, F. L. 2013. Ukrainian Prisoners and Community Reentry Challenges: Implications for Transitional Care. International Journal of Prisoner Health, 9(1): 5-19.

Katharine (Katie) Owers

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Year started: 2013

E-mail: katharine.owers@yale.edu

Research interest:
I am interested in spatio-temporal disease patterns and their socioeconomic and environmental correlates.  I currently work on leptospirosis, an emerging environmentally-transmitted bacterial disease. My dissertation research with Dr. Albert Ko will apply spatio-temporal modeling to the study of leptospirosis at several spatial and temporal scales.


Katharine Walter

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Year started: 2011

E-mail:katharine.walter@yale.edu

Research interest:
Katharine Walter is interested in the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, specifically, vector-borne and zoonotic pathogens. Her dissertation research investigates the origins and emergence history of the Lyme disease agent, Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease was first described in Old Lyme, Connecticut in 1976 and over the past forty years, Lyme reports have rapidly spread across the Northeastern United States as well as from a separate disease focus in the Midwest. Despite its epidemiological importance, the source and trajectory of the ongoing invasion remains poorly described: why was Lyme first described in Connecticut and why in the seventies? Where is it coming from and what is driving this ongoing emergence? Her dissertation project incorporates spatial modeling and bacterial phylogeography to reconstruct the invasion history of the Lyme disease bacteria.