Dr. MelbyPeter C. Melby, M.D.
Director, UTMB Center for Tropical Diseases

Dr. Melby joined UTMB in 2010 as Professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Director of the UTMB Center for Tropical Diseases. His research program is related to the immunopathogenesis of parasitic diseases, with a particular focus on leishmaniasis. His laboratory has been involved in vaccine development, studies to determine immunopathological mechanisms of disease, studies to define the impact of malnutrition on innate immunity and visceral leishmaniasis, and drug discovery. His interest in tropical diseases and the neglected diseases of resource-poor developing countries started thirty years ago when he first worked overseas in a hospital laboratory in rural Egypt. He subsequently returned to the U.S. to attend medical school at the University of Colorado and then went on to complete my residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Missouri, a research fellowship in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, and a clinical infectious diseases fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. He is active in the clinical practice of infectious diseases and in the teaching of medical and graduate students, as well as clinical residents and fellows.

Dr. GargNisha J. Garg, Ph.D.
Associate Director, UTMB Center for Tropical Diseases

Dr. Garg serves as Professor of the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Pathology, Associate Director of the Center for Tropical Diseases, and Co-director of the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary course in Integrated Medical Curriculum at UTMB. She serves as a member of the NIH study section and the American Society of Microbiology International Education Board; Associate editor of the American Journal of Pathology and the Journal of Neuroparasitology; and on the Editorial Boards of the Infection and Immunity Journal and the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology. Recently she served as Senior Scientific Advisor at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), engaged in implementation of Neglected Tropical Diseases Initiative of the US Government in Latin America. Dr. Garg’s lab efforts are targeted to win the human fight against Trypanosoma cruzi that causes Chagasic cardiomyopathy. Her ongoing translational research with multiple international collaborations focuses on identifying the potential vaccine candidates, and using these candidates to develop multi-component vaccine(s) that provide protection against different T. cruzi strains in multiple animal hosts and humans. Working with young students and scientists, Dr. Garg utilizes innovative approaches to understand the role of free radicals in initiation and/or sustenance of the pathological processes, i.e., inflammation, oxidative damage, and clinical severity of cardiac disease.

Jennifer EllisJennifer Ellis
Program Manager, UTMB Center for Tropical Diseases

Jennifer was previously at UTMB for 10 years and has worked for the Division of General Medicine, the Associate Deans of Research, and the Provost. She rejoined UTMB in April of 2011 to serve as the Program Manager for the Center for Tropical Diseases (CTD). In this role, she is charged with operationalizing the vision of the CTD. She oversees all programs within the Center and is accountable for the administrative, operational, and financial management to ensure the development and promotion of research within the Center. Jennifer also serves as the Webmaster for the CTD, Center for Global Health Education (CGHE) and the Coordinating Center for Global Health (CCGH). She currently holds an AA in Business and is pursuing her Bachelor of Healthcare Administration from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

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