Professor of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases
School of Public Health

Research Expertise and Interest

public health, infectious diseases, molecular epidemiology, global health, tuberculosis, drug-resistant infections, slum health


Our research program focuses on three general areas—1) basic biology of tuberculosis (TB) pathogenesis; 2) genetics of drug resistance and molecular epidemiology of drug-resistant infections; and 3) infectious diseases of urban slums in developing countries. Tuberculosis pathogenesis research currently focuses on delineating the mechanism of latency and reactivation from latency. In particular, the laboratory has been studying a family of operons called mce (mce1-4) that resemble ABC transporters, possibly involved in lipid transport across the cell wall of M. tuberculosis. Mutants disrupted in the operon are studied for their phenotype in mouse models. The basic pathogenesis research has led to several translational research activities. These include the development of a new therapeutic/adjunctive TB vaccine and new biomarker-based diagnostic and prognostic tests for TB The second basic research area involves characterizing the genetics of drug resistance in Gram negative bacterial (GNB) pathogens. We have launched a long-term project to identify every possible drug resistance genes in saprophytes in food that could potentially enter pathogens. Recognized drug resistance genes are also being characterized from GNB pathogens obtained from clinical sources domestically as well as abroad. The laboratory has field sites in Brazil and India where we conduct studies to assess burden of infectious diseases that are predominant in urban slum settlements, including leptospirosis, rheumatic heart disease, and TB. Products of the basic research above (e.g., new diagnostic tests) are often applied at these sites to assess disease burden. Thus, our research program emphasizes linking basic biology research with translational research to address infectious diseases of global importance.

In Research News

Lee Riley
October 6, 2016

New research collaboration between UC Berkeley and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will study whether food is a significant source of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause UTIs.

April 9, 2015

UC Berkeley researchers will receive $5.8 million over five years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, to develop tools to quickly spot and identify drug-resistant pathogens.

April 4, 2012

The Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health has awarded $4 million to UC Berkeley to train and educate researchers, educators and professionals who can tackle global health challenges specific to slum dwellings.

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