Heidi J Zapata, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Departments & Organizations

Internal Medicine: Infectious Diseases

Yale Medicine


My interest in microbes started in college when I did a research project on Trypanosomes, the parasite that causes African sleeping sickness. I was struck with how the membrane of the parasite changed its surface antigens to circumvent the host immune response.  My interest in the host microbe relationship continued during my MD/Ph.D., during which my thesis work focused on Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV), the cause of chicken pox and shingles.  We demonstrated that the VZV virus had co-evolved to become highly dependent on the cellular signaling proteins JNK and ERK, which was beautifully illustrated when we found that the virus had hijacked these cellular proteins and had incorporated them into the virion.  My clinical experiences during ID fellowship have solidified the importance of the host-microbe relationship, and have pushed me to further understand the host innate immune response.  

Education & Training

PhD SUNY Upstate Medical University, Microbiology and Immunology (2008)
MD SUNY Upstate Med Center (2008)
Fellowship Yale University School of Medicine
Residency University of Virginia-Charlottesville
Board Certification AB of Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine (2012)
Board Certification AB of Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease (2013, recertified: 2015)

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Contact Info

Heidi J Zapata, MD, PhD
Patient Care Location
Nathan Smith Clinic
15 York Street

New Haven, CT 06510
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Mailing Address
Infectious DiseasesPO Box 208022
New Haven, CT 06520-8022