Notre Dame global health leaders attend American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Astmh Group Pic

Astmh Group PicNotre Dame researchers attend the annual ASTMH meeting

From Saturday, October 28 through Thursday, November 1, members of the University of Notre Dame research community will travel to New Orleans, LA for the annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) meeting. Of the over 40 Notre Dame faculty, researchers, and students in attendance, many will be presenting their research through lectures, presentations, and posters. 

“The Eck Institute for Global Health (EIGH) strives to advance efforts to combat diseases affecting the world’s most disadvantaged, including tropical infectious diseases which are the focus of the ASTMH’s work,” said Bernard Nahlen, director of the EIGH, professor of biological sciences, and fellow of the ASTMH. “Attending this annual meeting helps our institute’s researchers continue to strengthen connections with colleagues from throughout the world and to identify opportunities for collaboration to find solutions that accomplish our shared goal of a healthier world for all.”

The University has a long history of participation in and leadership of the ASTMH. This year, a Pre-Meeting Course will be led by Michael Ferdig, professor of biological sciences, and postdoctoral fellow Katrina Button-Simons, titled, “Big Data and Genomics – A Practical Workshop on Sequence Analysis in Parasitology.” Both Button-Simons and Ferdig will be serving as instructors for this course and are also presenting a lecture called, “Artemisinin resistance gene K13 is linked to DNA replication and repair.” 

Other ASTMH meeting highlights include:

  • A symposium with Nicole Achee, research professor of biological sciences, and John Grieco, research associate professor of biological sciences and associate director of the EIGH, titled “Advancing a spatial repellent category for public health use: New Insights, considerations, and remaining Challenges.”
  • A presentation by Kasturi Haldar, Rev. Julius A. Nieuwland C.S.C. Professor of Biological Sciences and the Parsons-Quinn Director of the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases and students from her lab Niraja Suresh, Alassane Mbengue, and Mehdi Ghorbal, on the topic, “Vesicular system of artemisinin resistance enhances both parasite survival and host cytoadherence.” 
  • A presentation by Alex Perkins, Eck Family Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and students in his lab Guido España and Yutong Yao, titled, “Model-based assessment of public health impact and cost-effectiveness of routine vaccination with Dengvaxia® following screening for prior dengue virus exposure.” 
  • The EIGH will host their annual reception titled, “Rally with Notre Dame for global health” on Monday, October 29. Visit their booth #313 in the Exhibit Hall on Sunday or Monday for details. 

More than 20 poster presentations by faculty and students from the EIGH will participate in the meeting. Additionally, VectorBase, the National Institute of Allergy Infectious Diseases Bioinformatics Resource Center, which is dedicated to providing data for the scientific community for Invertebrate Vectors of Human Pathogens and is housed at Notre Dame, will be represented at the conference. VectorBase provides an e-forum for the discussion and distribution of news and information as well as tools to facilitate the querying and analysis of arthropod genome data sets present at the site.

The ASTMH was founded in 1903 and is the largest international scientific organization of experts dedicated to reducing the worldwide burden of tropical infectious diseases and improving global health.  It has over 4,000 members and is located in 113 countries. 

Both Ferdig and Molly Duman-Scheel, adjunct assistant professor of biological sciences at Notre Dame, currently serve in ASTMH leadership positions as the President-Elect for the American Committee of Molecular, Cellular, and Immunoparasitology and on the American Committee of Medical Entomology Council, respectively. To learn more about this event and how EIGH affiliated faculty are participating, please visit

The Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame endeavors to promote research, training, and service for the advancement health standards for all people. The institute recognizes health as a fundamental human right and aims to support those in developing countries who are disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases. To learn more about the institute, please visit

Originally published by Brandi Klingerman at on October 29, 2018.