Research & Publications
Pneumococci (Streptococcus pneumoniae) are prevalent colonizers of the nasopharynx, frequent causes of otitis media and non-bacteremic pneumonia, and significant causes of bacteremia and meningitis worldwide. Incidence of pneumococcal disease is concentrated in vulnerable populations, including infants, older adults, and people with immunocompromising conditions. There are numerous vaccines designed to prevent pneumococcal disease. I study vaccine effectiveness and vaccine impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines. I describe when, where, and how well the vaccines are preventing disease and death in various populations. I'm interested in disease surveillance, pneumococcal serotype replacement and serotype distribution, vaccine scheduling policy and recommendations, and optimizing vaccine use to protect the full population.
Extensive Research Description
I worked in a sewage treatment facility, analyzing wastewater, sludge, and solids in the laboratory and catching fish and aqueous invertebrates on the bioinventory team. I worked in a VA hospital laboratory, performing endocrine experiments on obese rats. I assisted on a study of thermoregulatory behavior of lizards in the Sonoran Desert. I worked in a nutritional epidemiology laboratory, processing blood and urine samples. I worked in intraoperative research, testing medical devices and collecting various secretions. I worked in the German National Reference Center for Streptococci, registering and analyzing high volumes of bacterial isolates, then designing and carrying out various epidemiological studies related to the surveillance and sample collection.
The overarching goal of my research now is to optimize pneumococcal vaccine effectiveness, which requires unity between surveillance, policy, and advocacy. I want to determine how we should select pneumococcal vaccines for particular populations and how we should design future vaccine candidates. I want to establish the best way to structure vaccine schedules, which segments of the population should receive vaccines, and how to improve vaccine uptake. I investigate the current and potential effects of using a vaccine on (primarily) invasive pneumococcal disease, and the interaction between pneumococcal disease and other circulating pathogens. In order to unravel these questions, high-quality, long-term, stable disease surveillance systems are essential.
Child; Data Collection; Disease Outbreaks; Immunization; Infant; Influenza, Human; Pneumonia; Population Surveillance; Public Health; Refugees; Streptococcaceae; Streptococcus; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Streptococcus pyogenes; Epidemiologic Studies; Bacteremia; Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections; Community-Acquired Infections; Molecular Epidemiology; Pneumonia, Bacterial; Disease Transmission, Infectious; Disease Notification; Sentinel Surveillance; Endemic Diseases; Communicable Diseases, Emerging; Vulnerable Populations; Emigrants and Immigrants; Genome-Wide Association Study; Coinfection; Public Health Systems Research; Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Public Health Interests
Antibiotic Resistance; Emerging Infectious Diseases; Global Health; Health Care Quality, Efficiency; Health Policy; Modeling; Respiratory Disease/Infections; Vaccines; Health Systems Reform