Division is Part of the UM SOM’s Institute for Global Health
Christopher Plowe, MD, MPH, the Frank M. Calia Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM), and director of the UM SOM Institute for Global Health (IGH), as well as UM SOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced today that Miriam K. Laufer, MD, MPH, will be the new Director of the Division of Malaria Research (DMR) at IGH.
Dr. Laufer, an associate professor of pediatrics, medicine, epidemiology and public health, and faculty of the graduate program in microbiology and immunology at UM SOM, will direct one of the largest and most diverse academic malaria research teams in the US. Her focus on interdisciplinary translational research, local and global collaborations, and commitment to training the next generation of malaria and international health researchers in this country and abroad, builds on the DMR’s existing initiatives and expands the mission.
“Malaria kills so many children around the world, and we must make a difference,” said Dr. Laufer. “We have a fantastic team here at DMR, and I am sure we will make progress, both scientifically and clinically, in the years to come. I am extremely excited to take on this new role.”
Dr. Laufer is a pediatric infectious disease specialist, with a primary research interest in malaria and global health. She has conducted research and provided clinical care and education in resource-limited countries. She has spent the past 15 years working in Malawi, where 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. She 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.
Dr. Laufer’s laboratory explores the application of molecular epidemiology tools to address critical issues related to malaria pathogenesis, disease burden and drug resistance. She also directs the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program at UM SOM, where promising pediatric infectious disease physician-scientists are trained in clinical care and research. In addition, she serves as the associate director for global health at IGH. She leads outreach efforts throughout UM SOM and the entire University of Maryland system to support and promote global health research.
“Dr. Laufer is a dynamic leader and an outstanding mentor who brings new vision and energy to malaria research and training here in Baltimore and at our overseas sites,” said Dr. Plowe, who had been serving as director of DMR. “Malaria remains an urgent global problem, and she has the experience to lead our efforts here.”
DMR aims to support global malaria eradication efforts by developing and deploying innovative tools for improved malaria treatment, prevention and surveillance. It now works in eight countries in Asia and Africa. In its molecular parasitology and immunology laboratories in Baltimore and at field research sites across Africa and Asia, it leads clinical trials of malaria drugs and vaccines. It also investigates antimalarial drug resistance, malaria in pregnancy, and interactions between malaria and other diseases, such as HIV and schistosomiasis. DMR works in collaboration with researchers across the globe to train young scientists and clinical investigators, and build research capacity on the ground in malaria-endemic countries.
Dr. Laufer received her MD degree at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed her residency in pediatrics at Babies and Children’s Hospital of New York (now New York Children’s Hospital) of Columbia University. She completed fellowships in pediatric infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University and in malaria research at the Center for Vaccine Development at UM SOM. She received an MPH degree from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. She has authored or co-authored 47 peer-reviewed articles and six book chapters.
“Dr. Laufer has devoted her distinguished career to understanding and defeating malaria,” said University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, who is also the vice president for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. “I know that she will thrive in this new and expanded role, and will help us make a significant impact on this terrible disease.”
About the University of Maryland School of Medicine
Commemorating its 210th Anniversary, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as an innovative leader in accelerating innovation and discovery in medicine. The School of Medicine is the founding school of the University of Maryland and is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. Located on the University of Maryland’s Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine works closely with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide a research-intensive, academic and clinically based education. With 43 academic departments, centers and institutes and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians and research scientists plus more than $400 million in extramural funding, the School is regarded as one of the leading biomedical research institutions in the U.S. with top-tier faculty and programs in cancer, brain science, surgery and transplantation, trauma and emergency medicine, vaccine development and human genomics, among other centers of excellence. The School is not only concerned with the health of the citizens of Maryland and the nation, but also has a global presence, with research and treatment facilities in more than 35 countries around the world. http://medschool.umaryland.edu.
• Institute for Global Health (IGH)
• Division of Malaria Research