Albert Ko, MD

Department Chair and Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Medicine (Infectious Diseases); Department Chair, Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases

Contact Information

Albert Ko, MD

Office Location

Mailing Address

  • Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases

    P.O. Box 208034

    New Haven, CT, 06520-8034

    United States

Albert Ko
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Appointments

Biography

Dr. Ko's research centers on the health problems that have emerged as a consequence of rapid urbanization and social inequity. He coordinates a research and training program on urban slum health in Brazil and is conducting prospective community-based studies on rat-borne leptospirosis, dengue, meningitis and respiratory infections. His research particularly focuses on understanding the transmission dynamics and natural history of leptospirosis, which is as a model for an infectious disease that has emerged in slum environments due to the interaction of climate, urban ecology and social marginalization. Current research combines multidisciplinary epidemiology, ecology and translational research-based approaches to identify prevention and control strategies that can be implemented in slum communities. More recently, Dr. Ko and his team has mobilized the public health research capacity at their site in the city of Salvador, Brazil to investigate the on-going outbreak of Zika virus infection and microcephaly. Dr. Ko is also Program Director at Yale for the Fogarty Global Health Equity Scholars Program which provides research training opportunities for US and LMIC post and pre-doctoral fellows at collaborating international sites.

Education & Training

  • MD
    Harvard Medical School (1991)
  • BS
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1981)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    Weill Medical College of Cornell University
  • Infectious Disease Fellow
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Resident
    Brigham and Women's Hospital

Activities

  • Zoonotic Disease and One Health Research
    Bangkok, Thailand 2015
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases and Urbanization
    Salvador, Brazil 1995
    The Division of International Medicine and Infectious Disease, Weill Medical College of Cornell University (Cornell) has had a joint training and research program on endemic tropical diseases with Brazilian institutions in the city of Salvador since the 1964. More recently, the investigations of Cornell and its Brazilian collaborators have brought to attention infectious diseases, such as epidemic leptospirosis, which have emerged in the urban setting due to rapid urbanization and increasing social inequality. Through the Fogarty-sponsored International Training in Emerging Infectious Diseases (ITREID) Program, we have been established at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Brazilian Ministry of Health in Salvador: 1) a multidisciplinary team of epidemiologists, clinicians, microbiologists and basic researchers, 2) on-going population-based surveillance for leptospirosis and bacterial meningitis; 2) a diagnostic laboratory that is now the national reference center for leptospirosis surveillance; 3) a molecular strain typing center, and 4) field sites to perform community-based longitudinal studies designed to identify determinants of transmission for leptospirosis and the etiologic pathogens for bacterial meningitis. Moreover, ITREID projects have convinced the Brazilian government to prioritize emerging infectious diseases such as leptospirosis, and in turn have led to national projects to sequence the Leptospira genome and develop a vaccine against leptospirosis. The infrastructure created at Fiocruz since 1996 provides a vehicle to pursue multidisciplinary training approaches for emerging infectious diseases. In this program, we are using leptospirosis and bacterial meningitis as disease models to address the following specific objectives: 1) Expand training opportunities that will provide Brazilian trainees at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) the capacity to develop treatment, control and prevention strategies for emerging infectious diseases; and 2) Work jointly with the Brazilian Ministry of Health to disseminate expertise already established at Fiocruz in laboratory-based surveillance, outbreak investigations and molecular epidemiology to other regions of Brazil. The program emphasizes the use of in-country expertise and resources to provide training. For the first aim, we proposed long-term training to 6 predoctoral and 2 postdoctoral fellows each year to address specific needs in expertise within the areas of clinical and field epidemiology, molecular epidemiology, pathogenesis and biotechnology application to develop public health interventions. In-country training provided by outstanding Brazilian mentors will be augmented with short training experiences in the institutions of long-standing US collaborators. For the second aim, Fiocruz is working with the National Center of Epidemiology, Brazilian Ministry of Health in providing short-term training opportunities and a yearly course, the National Course in Molecular Epidemiology in Emerging Infectious Diseases, which are designed to enhance the capacity of local public health epidemiologists and reference laboratory staff to perform laboratory-based surveillance and apply molecular strain typing tools to epidemiological investigations.

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
Charles F. Craig LectureAmerican Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene2016
FellowAmerican College of Physicians2014
FellowInfectious Disease Society of America2008
Special Citation for Fellow-in-TrainingInfectious Disease Society of North America1997
Arnold Dunne AwardBrigham and Women's Hospital1992
Associate MemberSigma Xi1981

Professional Service

OrganizationRoleDate
American Society of Tropical Medicine and HygieneMember, Board of Directors2018 - Present
Global Virus NetworkMember, Zika Task Force2016 - Present
National Institutes of HealthStanding Member, Clinical Research and Field Studies of Infectious Diseases (CRFS) Study Section2015 - Present
PLoS Neglected Tropical DiseaseDeputy Editor2005 - Present
Urban Health Council of the Residents’ Associations of Pau da LimaFounding Member2002 - Present

Departments & Organizations