Michael Cappello, MD

Professor of Pediatrics (Infectious Disease), of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Microbial Pathogenesis; Chair, Council on African Studies, Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies; co-Director, Yale Africa Initiative

Research Departments & Organizations

Pediatrics: Pediatric Infectious Diseases | Yale Child Health Research Center

Microbial Pathogenesis

School of Public Health: Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases

Yale Institute for Global Health

African Studies

Global Health Studies

Research Interests

Africa, Western; Developing Countries; Ghana; Global Health; Hookworm Infections; Infectious Disease Medicine; Malaria; Microbiology; Pediatrics; Public Health; Tropical Medicine

Research Summary

Our research encompasses laboratory and field based studies of parasitic diseases that affect children in developing countries. This work focuses on bloodfeeding hookworms, intestinal nematodes that infect nearly one billion people worldwide, and malaria, a major killer of children in the tropics. Using molecular, immunological, and biochemical techniques, we study pathogenesis in order to develop new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for use in resource limited settings. Collaborative field based research is focused on identifying risk factors for parasitic infections, characterizing the impact of polyparasitism on child health, and monitoring the effectiveness of current control strategies.

Specialized Terms: global health; molecular parasitology; hookworm; malaria; vaccine development; maternal-child health; neglected tropical diseases; epidmiology

Extensive Research Description

We conduct laboratory and field based investigations aimed at characterizing the epidemiology and molecular pathogenesis of parasitic diseases, specifically hookworm and malaria. We also study the pathogenesis of parasite coinfection and the role of host nutritional status in mediating susceptibility to disease. Our group utilizes molecular methods to identify parasite virulence factors, as well as define the genetic basis of treatment failure in endemic areas. Using laboratory models, we are developing novel drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for parasitic diseases, with a goal of implementing new technologies for disease control in resource limited settings.

Our field-based research is focused on the epidemiology of hookworm and malaria in West Africa. In collaboration with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research at the University of Ghana, we have defined the prevalence and intensity of hookworm/malaria in endemic communities, identified host factors that mediate susceptibility to infection, and also demonstrated high rates of deworming treatment failure. This work suggests the potential emergence of anthelminthic resistance, threatening the effectiveness of mass deworming campaigns in Africa. The long-range goal of our work is to improve the health of poor people around the world through laboratory and field based research on endemic infectious diseases.

In 2007 we launched the Yale Partnerships for Global Health, an initiative aimed at building human research capacity through education and training. Through this innovative program, students and post-doctoral fellows from Ghana, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, China, Singapore, and Australia have been hosted at Yale for mentored research training in clinical and translational research. The long range goal of the Yale Partnerships is to build a global network of scientists committed to improving health through collaborative research.


  • Yale Partnerships for Global Health Accra, Ghana; Ribeirão Preto, Brazil (2007)

    The Yale Partnerships for Global Health consist of multi-directional research and training programs designed to build research capacity in diseases of major public health importance. The Ghana-Yale Partnership includes formal research and training collaborations with the University of Ghana, KNUST,...

  • Parasitic Disease and Maternal-Child Health Ghana; Guatemala; Uganda (2006)

    Dr. Cappello is actively engaged in collaborative studies aimed at defining the role of parasitic diseases, including soil transmitted helminths and malaria, on childhood growth, nutritional status, and immune function. Field based studies focus on the epidemiology of infectious diseases and the...

Selected Publications

See list of PubMed publications

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