Michael Diamond | Resisting Zika

Diamond (r) | Photo: Robert Boston
Study | Science Matters: OB/GYN Researcher, Indira Mysorekar, PhD
Paper | Zika infection reduces fertility, lowers testosterone in male mice

Washington University School of Medicine is one of the hotspots of Zika research worldwide. Leading these efforts is virologist Michael Diamond, recognized internationally for his research involving Zika, West Nile, chikungunya and related emerging viruses.  As the Zika epidemic took hold in Brazil in 2015, causing severe birth defects, Diamond and experts across the School of Medicine collaborated on some of the groundbreaking initial studies into Zika virus to determine what damage it could do and what could be done to stop it. In one study, Diamond teamed up with Indira Mysorekar to evaluate the sequence of events that enable Zika virus to be transmitted during pregnancy. Another paper co-authored with  Kelle Moley examined how the Zika virus affects males. WashU experts have developed mouse models of Zika infection; identified potential drug targets to block the spread of the virus; shown that Zika can persist in the eye and testis; and identified specific anti-Zika antibodies that could be the basis for vaccines, diagnosis or treatment. Read more about their critical studies in Outlook magazine.

Jeffrey Gordon | Father of the Microbiome

Gordon | TEDx
Gordon video

Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, director of the Edison Family Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology, is internationally known for his pioneering research into the microbiome, which has revolutionized our understanding of human biology. His group is focused on addressing the global health challenges of obesity and childhood undernutrition through new understanding of the interactions between diets and the gut microbiome and new ways of promoting healthy development of the gut community during the first several years of postnatal life. Gordon has used his groundbreaking studies of the gut microbiome to help malnourished children in developing countries. His research in Bangladesh showed that children suffering from malnutrition possess gut microbial communities that fail to assemble normally. His studies have catalyzed efforts to develop new foods directed at repairing the issue. Watch his TEDx talk or this short video. Read more about his research in The Atlantic or Outlook magazine.

Mark Manary | Inventor of Life-Saving Therapy for Malnourished Children

Project Peanut Butter

Mark Manary, MD, is one of the world’s foremost experts in childhood malnutrition. His pioneering clinical studies in Africa have helped advance the treatment of severe acute malnutrition, the single largest cause of child mortality in the world today. In 2001, Manary field-tested a peanut-butter based food in Malawi that mothers took home and fed their children. The nutrient-rich mixture, called Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), restores malnourished children to health and has been endorsed by the World Health Organization as the best way to treat severe malnutrition. Since 2004, Manary’s Project Peanut Butter has treated one million children in different countries. By producing RUTF locally where the product is needed, the project supports local economies and builds stronger communities. Hear the story of Project Peanut Butter, its impact in Malawi, and a WashU graduate’s experience working on the project.

Rupa Patel & Anne Glowinski | Delivering Mental Health Care to Rohingya Refugees

Patel and Glowinski
Doctors address mental health crisis among Rohingya refugees
Patel | TEDx

Washington University School of Medicine colleagues Rupa Patel, MD, and Anne Glowinski, MD, are working with an organization in Bangladesh to help deliver mental health care to Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Since 2017, more than 740,000 refugees — more than half of them children — have fled violence in Myanmar and settled in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh. While numerous aid organizations focus on the refugees’ basic needs, Patel and Glowinski have zeroed in on the profound need for mental health care and the dearth of people and means to provide it. Patel is also helping gather evidence of violence suffered by the Rohingya. Watch this video about the doctors’ work in the Rohingya refugee camps or read more about it in Outlook magazine.  See Patel’s TEDx talk about making healthcare accessible to vulnerable communities.

Photo: Muhammad Mostafigur Rahman