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Division of Infectious Disease & Tropical Pediatrics

Our Mission

Improve the health of children by promoting excellence in diagnosis, management, and prevention of infectious diseases through clinical care, education, research, advocacy, and training.

About Us

The Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has a longstanding comprehensive clinical and research training program. Clinical training takes place at the Maryland Hospital for Children, part of the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). The hospital provides all pediatric and surgical subspecialty services, making our infectious diseases clinical service diverse and engaging.

The Division of Pediatric Diseases and Tropical Pediatrics is part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD), recognized internationally for expertise in all aspects of vaccine development both domestic and international from basic science vaccinology research, infectious diseases epidemiology and burden of disease, to cutting-edge immunology and to post-licensure studies.

The CVD provides a rich, international training environment with research support for fellows available through an NIH T32 Training Grant in Vaccinology. Trainees are mentored by teams of leaders in their respective fields, and advance to positions in academia, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), clinical infectious diseases, industry, and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).


Research

Our investigators lead large domestic and international projects. On a national scale, we are one of nine sites in the U.S. contracted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) to run a Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit (VTEU) that performs clinical trials and detailed immunologic assessments of vaccines against infectious diseases of public health importance. We are also one of six sites in the U.S. with a large U19 from NIAID to run a Cooperative Center for Human Immunology (CCHI) focused in understanding human immune responses to infectious agents and the basis of immune protection. We are testing new vaccines to prevent RSV and improved vaccines for meningococcus and measles. At our CVD-Mali field site, we are conducting clinical trials of vaccines against Ebola and meningococcus and are examining the effectiveness of vaccinating pregnant women against pertussis (whooping cough) to protect their newborns. We are conducting large studies of the causes, outcomes, and treatment of diarrheal illnesses and mortality in young children.

At our field site in Malawi, Central Africa, and with our collaborators in Burkina Faso, we are evaluating a new typhoid fever vaccine, including conducting large-scale epidemiological and immunological studies.

Our team of malaria researchers work in Mali, Malawi, and Burkina Faso leading malaria vaccine trials, large-scale epidemiological and immunological studies, and clinical trials evaluating strategies to prevent malaria in pregnancy and HIV-malaria interactions. We are leading clinical and translational research to understand the pathophysiology of severe malaria. Our well-established research sites provide a platform for additional areas of research such as examining the impact of HIV exposure during pregnancy on infant immune responses to vaccines.


Research Facilities

Pediatric vaccine trials are conducted at the CVD outpatient facilities and within private pediatric practices in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.

We maintain field sites for clinical trials and epidemiological studies in Mali (CVD-Mali) and Blantyre, Malawi (Blantyre Malaria Project) in addition to our collaborations with other sites in sub-Saharan Africa in The Gambia, Kenya, Burkina Faso, and in South Asia (Bangladesh).

Basic and translational studies are performed in the CVD laboratories and in collaboration with partner institutions to promote capacity-building.


Educational Activities

Our pediatric infectious disease inpatient and outpatient consultation services provide an enriching experience with exposure to a broad array of patients and ample time for education and mentorship while on rounds. We provide ongoing didactic lectures to the students and residents during the core pediatric lecture series. 

CVD's bi-annual Vaccinology course consists of a series of lectures on a variety of vaccinology topics including:

  • Strategies for vaccine development
  • Pre-clinical evaluation
  • Human clinical trials
  • Current immunization recommendations
  • Economics of vaccine development and public health intervention

Special lectures address highly debated issues of current interest such as vaccine safety, public perception of vaccines, and emerging infectious diseases (e.g., Ebola and Zika). Lectures are presented by experts from industry, academia, non-profit research institutes, foundations and government.

Students and residents are welcome to engage in research projects with our faculty.


Fellowship Program

This unique program offers outstanding clinical training and research opportunities in infectious diseases, vaccine development, clinical trials, and public health.

The clinical training takes place at the University of Maryland Children's Hospital, a large tertiary level referral hospital with all pediatric and surgical sub-specialty services. Faculty members are committed to education and professional development of the fellows.

We offer outstanding opportunities for research in vaccine development and international health. The CVD is an international leader in the development and evaluation of vaccines, with a focus on diseases that have the greatest burden among children in low and middle-income countries. Research ranges from basic pathogenesis, vaccine development and immunology, to epidemiology, clinical trials and public health in domestic and international settings. This fellowship is open to individuals who have successfully completed a pediatric residency program. Fellows who have completed one year of clinical training elsewhere and still need to fulfill their research requirements may also apply. U.S. citizenship or Green Card is required.

T32 Training Grant in Vaccinology: Each year, we accept 1-2 pediatricians into our Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellowship Program. The Vaccinology Training Grant supports fellows who pursue research projects related to vaccine development, immunology, or clinical trials.

Click on the link above to learn more about the T32 Training Grant in Vaccinology or review the T32 fact sheet.

For more information about the Fellowship Program, please contact:

Carol Kairo, on behalf of
Matthew Laurens, MD, MPH
Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellowship Program Director
Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health
University of Maryland School of Medicine
685 W. Baltimore Street, Room 480
Baltimore, MD 21201
+1 (410) 706-8695
E-mail: ckairo@som.umaryland.edu


Faculty

Clinical Faculty

Click on the faculty member's name to view their faculty profile.

Andrea Berry, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine

Dr. Berry studies the humoral immune response to malaria following natural infection and malaria vaccination. She co-leads the Immunoepidemiology and Pathogenesis Unit within the Malaria Research Program with Dr. Travassos. She uses protein and peptide microarrays to simultaneously profile the antibody reactivity to hundreds to thousands of malaria proteins and peptides. Her goal is to identify signatures of antibody responses that are associated with protection from malaria illness to inform next generation malaria vaccine design.

Dr. Berry is a member of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) network of investigators. Recent NIAID clinical studies have included trials of pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines, a study of concurrent use of both licensed brands of rotavirus vaccines within the same schedule, and a study of the immunogenicity of Human Papilloma Virus vaccine when given outside of the recommended schedule.

James D. Campbell, MD, MS
Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. James Campbell’s research interests include clinical trials of vaccines in all age groups, epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases, and HIV prevention. He has performed trials of vaccines against many organisms, including Neisseria meningitidis, Bacillus anthracis, seasonal influenza, pandemic influenza, and smallpox. Dr. Campbell has overseen trials for innovative vaccine administration techniques and coordinated vaccine trials of childhood immunizations at three pediatric clinic vaccine sites in Maryland.

He helped establish and oversee a microbiology laboratory at the pediatric hospital in Bamako, Mali where they investigated the causes of invasive bacterial infections, particularly Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b. From 2007 to 2012, he was a medical officer/epidemiologist with CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention and the in-country Associate Director for Science in Kampala, Uganda. Dr. Campbell's work in Uganda included HIV prevention trials and research on Nodding Syndrome and other outbreaks.

Karen L. Kotloff, MD
Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine
Division Head, Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine

Karen Kotloff, MD is a world-renowned pediatrician-scientist in vaccine development and the epidemiology of infectious diseases at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Her footprint reaches far beyond an extensive list of publications, grants, and awards. Dr. Kotloff has characterized infections burdening the world’s most vulnerable children and participated in the clinical development of, and advocacy for, use of vaccines against a wide range of infections, including group A streptococcus, Shigella, and influenza.

Dr. Kotloff led the clinical and epidemiologic components of the largest global epidemiology study on the causes of childhood diarrhea, the Global Enterics Multicenter Study (GEMS). The work revolutionized our understanding of diarrheal diseases in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world. GEMS highlighted the major causes of infectious diarrhea and led to the re-prioritization of development and implementation efforts to combat the leading pathogens. As a follow-on to GEMS, Dr. Kotloff is leading the Vaccine Impact on Diarrhea in Africa (VIDA) study to assess the causes and burden of diarrhea in children under five and determine the effectiveness of rotavirus vaccine in Mali, Kenya, and The Gambia.

She is Principal Investigator (PI) of the Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit (VTEU) at the CVD, a critical entity in developing new and improved vaccines and therapeutics against infectious diseases of public health importance. The VTEU is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Kotloff mentors faculty, administrators, students, and investigators, both domestically and internationally and is a tireless promoter of solid, evidence-based science, ethical research, compassionate care, and pediatric public health needs. She participates in numerous international advisory committees for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization and.serves on the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee providing recommendations to the Food and Drug Administration on safety, effectiveness, and use of vaccines.

In 2001, Dr. Kotloff was instrumental in the creation of the Center for Vaccine Development, Mali (CVD-Mali), now a premier research and public health institution in West Africa. Her work contributed to the determination of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease burden, introduction of the Hib vaccine, and the reduction of disease incidence.

Miriam K. Laufer, MD, MPH
Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, Epidemiology & Public Health
Associate Director for Malaria Research

Dr. Laufer is a pediatric infectious disease specialist, with a primary research interest in malaria and global child health. She has conducted research, clinical care and professional education in several resource-limited countries, but has dedicated the past 15 years to working in Malawi. She and her research team use clinical and laboratory research to develop and evaluate interventions to decrease the burden of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Laufer received an NIH Fogarty International Center grant in 2016, which supports training in molecular epidemiology, biostatistics and vector biology to promote efforts to eliminate malaria and the other infectious diseases that threaten the health of children in the region. She currently serves as Principal Investigator for clinical trials and epidemiological studies throughout Malawi.

Her current research focuses on malaria during pregnancy and its impact on infants, the interaction between HIV and malaria and identifying reservoirs of malaria transmission. Her laboratory at the University of Maryland explores the application of molecular epidemiology tools to address critical issues related to malaria pathogenesis, disease burden and drug resistance.

Dr. Laufer serves as the Associate Director for the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD). She leads outreach efforts throughout the School of Medicine and the entire University of Maryland campus to support and promote global health research.

Matthew Laurens, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine

Dr. Laurens is a pediatric infectious disease specialist with a primary research interest in malaria and antimalarial immunity. He conducts studies at the Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) in Baltimore and at international sites in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Malawi. Dr. Laurens evaluates malaria vaccines and therapeutics, to study the interaction of HIV and malaria and to investigate the acquisition of antimalarial immunity. The broad goal of Dr. Laurens’ research is to illuminate the mechanisms of immunity to malaria with the aim to inform development of malaria vaccines and therapeutics.

He has served as a consultant to the WHO Initiative for Vaccine Research to develop guidelines for the design and conduct of malaria challenge trials, including guidelines for microscopy diagnostics and clinical management. Dr. Laurens has significant experience in vaccine trials in limited resource settings, including first-in-human studies conducted under IND with safety endpoints; he played a critical role in the clinical development plan of Sanaria’s PfSPZ Vaccine from the very first-in-human clinical trial at University of Maryland Baltimore to a current dose escalation study in malaria-exposed adults in Burkina Faso.

Dr. Laurens is also involved in a pediatric typhoid conjugate vaccine trial in Malawi, which is the first of its kind on the African continent. He also helps to lead a complementary study of pediatric typhoid conjugate vaccine in infants and children in Burkina Faso.

Dr. Laurens directs the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where the most promising pediatric infectious disease physician-scientists are trained in clinical care and research.

Monica A. McArthur, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. McArthur’s research interests span the spectrum of vaccine development to include pre-clinical studies, translational immunology, and clinical trials. Her overarching research goal is to advance vaccine development to prevent infection in resource-limited countries. For almost a decade, Dr. McArthur has focused on interactions between pathogens and the host immune response – identifying immunological correlates of protection following vaccination.

Dr. McArthur works with a number of pathogens of global public health importance, including enteric bacteria such as Salmonella Typhi, Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), and Vibrio cholerae, as well as arboviruses, such as Zika, dengue, and yellow fever viruses. While many diseases caused by these pathogens are rare in the United States, they continue to cause significant morbidity, mortality, and economic hardship in low and middle-income countries.

As the Principal Investigator (PI) for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program Career Development Award, Dr. McArthur investigates the role of T cells in protection against cholera. She is using data from a vaccination and wild-type challenge clinical trial conducted at the CVD to perform in-depth immunophenotyping of V. cholerae-responsive T cell subsets (e.g., effector memory CD4+ T cells, circulating T follicular helper cells – cTfh) using mass cytometry. She also explores the mechanisms by which T cells provide B cell “help” in hopes of identifying correlates of vaccine-induced protection.

Dr. McArthur also researches immunological responses induced by flaviviruses, including Zika and dengue, and vaccine development against these viruses. Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that inflicts devastating neurological defects on infants born to mothers infected during pregnancy.  This emerging virus has spread geographically and may continue to affect naïve populations. To halt further cases an effective vaccine is urgently needed. Dr. McArthur is the site PI for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Phase I/Ib clinical trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a candidate Zika virus DNA vaccine, a collaborative project with the NIH Vaccine Research center and Emory University.

Milagritos Tapia, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine

Dr. Tapia’s research focuses primarily on the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases in Mali and the development of vaccines to address these diseases. In conjunction with the team at CVD-Mali (Centre pour le Développement des Vaccins - Mali), headed by Dr. Samba Sow, she has conducted and participated in the following vaccine-development activities:

  • Series of trials of meningococcal A conjugate vaccine under the sponsorship of the Meningitis Vaccine Project. This collaborative effort included investigators in The Gambia and Senegal. The studies led to the prequalification of MenAfriVac and eventually the introduction of this vaccine to the countries of the African meningitis belt.
  • Pivotal vaccine trial that demonstrated the efficacy of live, oral, pentavalent rotavirus vaccine (Rota Teq®) in Africa.
  • Large trial of trivalent influenza vaccine, administered to pregnant Malian women, demonstrated its efficacy in the prevention of influenza in the infants up to 6 months of age.
  • First trial in humans of a candidate vaccine against Ebolavirus.
  • Phase II trials of a candidate vaccine against Ebolavirus in Malian adults and children.

In addition to assisting in the development of these important vaccines, Dr. Tapia and the CVD-Mali team have described the epidemiology of pediatric infections with Haemophilus influenzae type b and Streptococcus pneumoniae. These data have led to the introduction of life-saving vaccines (Hib conjugate vaccine and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) into the Malian Expanded Programme on Immunization.

Mark Travassos, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine

Dr. Travassos is a pediatric infectious diseases specialist and member of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health’s Malaria Research Group. He co-leads the Immunoepidemiology and Pathogenesis Unit within the Malaria Research Program with Dr. Berry. His research focuses on malaria pathogenesis and epidemiology, with a focus on cerebral malaria and other forms of severe malaria. Dr. Travassos is particularly interested in malaria parasite variant surface antigens and their contribution to the development of cerebral malaria. He employs novel immune techniques such as microarray analysis to probe the human response to P. falciparum malaria.

Dr. Travassos currently studies cerebral malaria in Mali, and this project focuses on novel genomic and proteomic approaches with the use of a new animal model to measure the association between particular variant surface antigens and the development of cerebral malaria and also protective natural immunity. His research also includes work in Ethiopia assessing vaccine coverage through the use of serosurveys.

Research Faculty

Click on the faculty member's name to view their faculty profile.

Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH
Simon and Bessie Grollman Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology, Epidemiology & Public Health, Pediatrics
Associate Dean for Global Health, Vaccinology and Infectious Diseases

Dr. Levine’s world-renowned research involves studies of pathogenesis and vaccine development and the assessment of a variety of vaccines in adults and children in Baltimore, as well as in many developing countries. He conducted pivotal trials leading to licensure of vaccines to prevent typhoid fever and cholera. He is the recipient of the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award for lifetime achievement in the area of vaccine development and implementation.

Jayaum Booth, PhD
Research Associate

Dr. Booth is a mucosal immunologist and microbiologist with experience in host response to immunization and infection. Dr. Booth has extensive experience in human immunology of enteric diseases especially in isolating, characterizing and ex vivo culture and stimulation of mucosal immune cells isolated from human stomach and terminal ileum biopsies obtained from children, adults and the elderly.

Dr. Booth has developed an optimal cell isolation method that yields high number of viable gastric and terminal ileum cells with a 2-3 fold increase in the amount of cells compared to other methods. He has considerable experience in high-dimensional flow cytometry using human mucosal immune cells.

Furthermore, Dr. Booth has gained significant experience in Mass Cytometry, including panel and experimental design, metal antibody conjugation and the use of novel software for analysis of high-parameter samples (up to 35 metal-conjugated antibodies in a single panel). His current research focuses on the elicitation of systemic and mucosal immunity (especially tissue resident (TRM) cells) in the human terminal ileum following oral immunization with the live attenuated typhoid vaccine, Ty21a.

Lauren Cohee, MD, MPH
Instructor

Dr. Cohee is a pediatric infectious disease specialist, with a primary research interest in malaria and global child health. She has conducted epidemiologic studies of malaria in Malawi since 2011. She is currently an Instructor and is supported by an NIH K23 Career Development Award. Her current research focuses on identifying reservoirs of malaria transmission and defining the burden of malaria in school-age children.

Shannon Heine, PhD
Research Associate

Rosangela Mezghanni, PhD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Mezghanni’s main research interest is in human translational immunology. Dr. Mezghanni has over 20 years of experience in research that requires the use of specimens from patients and volunteers. She has been involved in the direction, analysis, and reporting of immunological studies in many clinical trials testing vaccines against infectious diseases. Dr. Mezghanni has excellent training in human Mucosal Immunology, and tissue engineering. Her primary research focus is on innate-like T cells, with studies to evaluate the activation and expansion of their different cell subpopulations before and after vaccination. She also investigates the early gut mucosal events following bacterial infection.

She is a co-inventor of a patented, innovative, multicellular in vitro three-dimensional (3-D) model of the human intestinal mucosa (#9,200,258, issued December 1, 2015). Dr. Mezghanni has extensive experience in Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) standards and its implementation for laboratory accreditation. She has formal training in GLP standards and Good Manufactory Practice (GMP) development. She served as the Study Director of the cell-mediated immunity component of a project entitled "Humoral and Cell-Mediated Immune Responses in Humans following Immunization with Tularemia Live Vaccine Strain (LVS)" under the Food and Waterborne Diseases Integrated Research Network (FWDIRN). This study was performed under of the quality system (Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) like) guidelines.

Additionally, Dr. Mezghanni has over 25 years of experience in flow cytometry. She has designed and analyzed complex multi-color staining panels for several clinical studies carried out by her group or by collaborators. Finally, Dr. Mezghanni serves as a mentor for pre and postdoctoral fellows and teaches classes of Immunology and Vaccinology.

Marcela Pasetti, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Pasetti’s research focuses on characterizing immune responses to vaccination in young infants and children and evaluating the humoral immune responses to vaccination in clinical trials.

Ingrid Peterson, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Peterson has worked as an epidemiologist for over 10 years, primarily in clinical infectious disease research in Africa. For several years, she served at the UK Medical Research Council in the Gambia; her work included a Hepatitis B vaccine community cohort and a clinical study of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) outcomes. From 2010 to 2013, she was Study Director for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-funded HIV seroincidence study implemented by ICAP (Columbia University) that followed over 10,000 individuals in Swaziland.

In 2013, Dr. Peterson joined the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust in Blantyre where she was Principal Investigator on two large studies - a CDC-funded Phase IV community trial of influenza vaccine in young children and a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)-funded ongoing cohort study of vascular disease in HIV patients. She joined the University of Maryland in 2017 where her work focusses on the impact of HIV in a maternal-infant cohort and a community-based study of malaria transmission.

Helen Powell, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Powell joined the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD) in 2017. She leads the statistics team for Vaccine Impact on Diarrhea in Africa (VIDA), a prospective case-control study in sub-Saharan Africa. The goal of VIDA is to understand the etiology of moderate-to-severe diarrhea in children less than five years of age. Dr. Powell’s experience includes assessing air pollution and mortality or morbidity outcomes. She has developed methods that take to advantage of, and account for, spatial variation in the data to include the inherent correlation between sites of measurement and the potential biases associated with spatial misalignment. Her work quantifying the health effects of coarse thoracic particulate matter has been used by the US Environmental Protection Agency as evidence to support the creation of a National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

Marcelo B. Sztein, MD
Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Sztein’s research focuses on understanding the immunologic correlates of protection in the context of vaccine development. His research interests include Salmonella Typhi, Salmonella Paratyphi, Shigella, Plasmodium falciparum, malaria, Francisella tularensis, tularemia, Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), Dengue, Ebola, H. pylori, microbiome, mucosal immunity, T cytotoxic cells, T helper cells, mucosal associated invariant T cells (MAIT), innate immunity, macrophages, controlled human infection models, and non-human primates.

Rezwanul Wahid, MBBS, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Wahid studies T and B cell mediated host-immune responses and induction immune memory by immunization with licensed or candidate vaccines in humans. He primarily utilizes the clinical samples obtained from volunteers participating in various vaccine trials.

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