I am a junior clinician-investigator who studies pediatric tuberculosis (TB). Since 2014, I have published ten articles on this topic (eight as first-author), with two additional articles in press. Most of my research takes place in Peru, where I served as a Peace Corps volunteer between college and medical school. Since 2011, I have collaborated closely with Socios En Salud (Partners In Health-Peru), an international non-governmental healthcare delivery organization. Socios En Salud has partnered with Peru’s Ministry of Health to treat TB in Lima, Peru’s capital, since 1996. Working with U.S. investigators, the research arm of Socios En Salud has produced over 100 publications on TB epidemiology, treatment, and prevention. To date, I have collaborated with Socios En Salud on four research studies: a cohort study of over 300 children and adolescents with drug-resistant TB, a TB household contact study, a pediatric TB diagnostics study, and an evaluation of the diagnostic and treatment barriers faced by children and adolescents with TB in Lima.
I received clinical training in TB during my fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital. In addition, I completed both inpatient and outpatient rotations with the TB service at the National Institute of Child Health in Lima, where patients frequently present in advanced stages and have drug-resistant TB. In the last two years, I have had the opportunity to teach U.S. and Peruvian physicians about the clinical management of pediatric TB. I also co-authored the TB chapter in the most recent edition of Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.
As a clinical investigator, my long-term goal is to develop a robust adolescent TB research program in Lima, Peru. I have been struck by the large unmet need for epidemiologic and clinical data on adolescent TB. I have collaborated on a study examining the role of Xpert MTB/RIF in the diagnosis of adolescent pulmonary TB in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the manuscript describing our findings is in press. I am conducting mentored research to estimate the global burden of adolescent TB, which is unknown. I have also received a pilot grant from the Children’s Miracle Network to study associations between pubertal hormones and immune response to TB—which may shed light on why the risk of progression from TB infection to disease increases in adolescence. Most recently, I received a K01 International Research Scientist Development Award (IRSDA) and a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation to study adolescent adherence to TB treatment in Lima, Peru.