Research Professor Katherine Taylor, PhD, Director of Operations of the Eck Institute for Global Health (EIGH) at the University of Notre Dame has been selected President-elect of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), American Committee for Global Health (ACGH) http://www.astmh.org/ACGH.htm. “I am excited and honored to be selected by a group of my global health peers,” Taylor stated. “I consider a role on the committee a great opportunity to advance global health in the context of the tremendous potential of the ASTMH.”
The election results were announced at the 61st ASTMH annual meeting in Atlanta. ASTMH has approximately 3100 members, located in 83 countries. Overall Notre Dame has a strong presence within the society as reflected by numerous posters, presentations, and symposia from our 34 faculty, alumni, and students who were in attendance. Doctoral student and EIGH Fellow, Anthony Clemons, from the lab of EIGH Director and Professor David Severson, PhD, was the recipient of a Travel Award from the American Committee on Medical Entomology (ACME). This award allowed him to attend the conference and present his research to the ACME membership, as well as sit in on informative committee meetings. Another doctoral student and former EIGH Fellow, Geoffrey Siwo, from the lab of EIGH member and Associate Professor Michael Ferdig, PhD, won the ASTMH Young Investigator Honorable Mention Award. This prestigious award is presented to outstanding young researchers during the annual meeting. The award encourages developing young scientists to pursue careers in various aspects of tropical disease research. In other leadership positions, Notre Dame’s Professor of Biological Sciences and EIGH member, Nora Besansky, is a Council Member of the ACME.
Taylor has had a diverse career in global health and infectious diseases. She will bring that diversity of experience and leadership to this newly elected position. Trained as a parasite immunologist in the laboratory of ASTMH past President, Paul P. Weinstein, PhD, at the University of Notre Dame, her career path has three distinct phases including her own perspective and experience as a research scientist.
“Mentoring and connecting with young scientists has been an important and rewarding part of my career,” says Taylor. “As a mentor, my personal experience, living, working, and raising a family in Kenya for 14 years allows me to understand and assist young professionals and families with a desire to work in developing countries and contribute to global health solutions.” While living in Kenya, she worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the International Livestock Research Institute. Taylor’s own research focused on the biology of helminthes, malaria, and Anopheles vectors, and the immunology of African trypanosomiasis in livestock.
As a Program/Project Officer in the Enteric and Hepatic Diseases Branch and Chief of the Drug Development Section in the Office of Biodefense, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, she managed a broad portfolio of infectious disease research, from basic and clinical research to the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics. Taylor’s current position as a Research Professor and Director of Operations of the Eck Institute for Global Health has brought insight into the potential of the academy to contribute to the global health enterprise. She received her BS in Biology from Purdue University, her MS in Parasitology from the University of Notre Dame and her doctoral degree in Parasite Immunology from the Vrije University in Brussels.
The ASTMH, founded in 1903, is a worldwide organization of scientists, clinicians, and program professionals whose mission is to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor. Research, health care, and education are the central activities of ASTMH members, whose work bridges basic laboratory research to international fieldwork and clinics to countrywide programs.
Specific ASTMH goals include: Improving the health of people worldwide; Advancing research in tropical diseases; Fostering international scientific collaboration; Supporting career development in tropical medicine and global health; Educating medical professionals, policymakers and the public about tropical medicine and global health; Promoting science-based policy regarding tropical medicine and global health; Recognizing exceptional achievement in tropical medicine and global health.
The Eck Institute for Global Health is a university-wide enterprise that recognizes health as a fundamental human right and endeavors to promote research, training, and, service to advance health standards for all people, especially people in low and middle-income countries, who are disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases.