The UNC Program in Nicaragua has significantly contributed to the field of emerging infections, 包括寨卡病毒和COVID-19, 该项目的威廉希尔使人们对儿童腹泻有了新的认识, 这是全球儿童死亡的第二大原因.

丽贝卡·鲁宾斯坦(Carolina的医学博士.D. 攻读博士学位的课程.D. 与塞斯·莫里森(儿科GI研究员)一起进行火山之旅.

A two-hour flight from Miami to Nicaragua takes Carolina students to the closest of all Institute for 全球 健康 and Infectious Diseases country sites, 有湖泊和火山的土地, 风景优美的海岸线和高地. 还有几分钟就到León, UNC Program in Nicaragua operates through the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua León, 或UNAN-Leon, 以及传染病研究中心. 在这里, Carolina and UNAN students benefit from years of capacity building and sustained 研究 and scholarship through the Institute for 全球 健康 and Infectious Diseases.

主要关注儿科和产妇传染病, the UNC Program in Nicaragua has significantly contributed to the field of emerging infections, 包括寨卡病毒和COVID-19, 该项目的威廉希尔使人们对儿童腹泻有了新的认识, 这是全球儿童死亡的第二大原因.


丽贝卡·鲁宾斯坦是威廉希尔的一名学生 MD-PhD 攻读博士学位的课程.D. in 流行病学, studying the bacterial and viral causes of gastroenteritis in children from UNAN-León’s microbiology laboratory. She’s also looking at how genetically determined components of breast milk impact enteric health outcomes in children.

“在许多中低收入国家,比如尼加拉瓜, children who get the rotavirus vaccine don’t make as many antibodies in their GI tract from the vaccine as children from higher income settings.”

丽贝卡正在研究儿童对不同形式腹泻的易感性, 包括诺如病毒, 星状病毒和轮状病毒, 不同的细菌,比如 弯曲杆菌.

“I’m also interested in growth trajectories for children in the first few years of life.”

人乳寡糖是母乳中的化合物, 它们的确切分布取决于母亲的基因. 她的论文, Rebecca wants to show how oligosaccharides can either increase or decrease a child’s risk of developing diarrhea, 这取决于病毒或细菌.

Rebecca’s UNAN-Le在导师s are Filemon Bucardoand Samuel Vilchez in the department of microbiology and parasitology.


很快,丽贝卡将与莱斯特·古铁雷斯一起在UNAN-León实验室工作. 莱斯特是博士.D. 最近成立的生物医学科学博士候选人.D. 请访问UNAN-León, which was established with the support of the Nicaraguan Emerging and Endemic Diseases Training Program from the Fogarty International Center. He just returned to UNAN-León after visiting 教堂山分校 to run lab assays–using technology not currently available in his home country–for his 研究 on the parasite, 贾第虫属lamblia.

NEED leverages the longstanding, intertwined relationship between UNAN-León and UNC faculty. 从那时起,博士.D. programs in 流行病学 and occupational health have been added to the program in Biomedical Sciences to help graduates operate as independent scientists and apply for NIH grants to investigate diseases within the country.

莱斯特是第一个攻读博士学位的学生.D. 在传染病方面, learning from UNC faculty who travel to León to teach classes in person as well as teach virtually.

“贾第鞭毛虫在我国非常常见,但人们还没有完全了解它. 威廉希尔知道当一个孩子被感染时, there are changes in intestinal functions that could be associated with weight loss and stunted growth. We also believe that repeated giardia infections in young children could have a significant impact on their future growth and development.”

贾第虫属 is most common during childhood, mainly in low-and-middle-income countries. 症状包括急性或慢性腹泻, 脱水或腹痛, 大多数感染是无症状的. 慢性感染如果不被威廉希尔,可能会导致体重下降和生长迟缓. Lester wants to understand the role of the innate and adaptive immune response and how it may contribute to the parasite’s health impact in children and clearance from the gut.


这些全球研究交流对全球卫生的未来至关重要, forming student-mentor bonds and introducing cultural experiences that bring life-changing perspectives. Lester explains that being able to have access to Carolina’s state-of-the-art laboratory infrastructure is an important aspect of his training, 与Carolina导师 Dr. 路德Bartelt, associate professor 在传染病方面 and microbiology and immunology, and UNAN-Le在导师 Samuel Vilchez是UNC尼加拉瓜项目的国内主任.

“Something that happens in my country is that perhaps you have a good idea to study, 你有了所有的样本, 但你并没有所有的工具来测试你的想法.”

“This program has helped me create new connections with my UNC mentor and be able to run all of the experiments I need for my dissertation project. 这些知识将被分享, 哪些会对教育产生重大影响, 研究, 和临床实践León, 向其他学生展示没有什么是不可能的. 这Ph值.D. training program has opened a lot of doors for Nicaragua, and that is something very great.”

Rebecca looks forward to learning how to do the assay that will measure rotavirus vaccine response in children, 向莱斯特和他的同事学习, 得到了北卡罗来纳大学和南南大学导师的支持.

“What I like the most about my program is honestly the opportunity to get to work with Dr. 西尔维娅Becker-Dreps, 并在美国接受培训时使用了很多非常核心的流行病学方法, 还要在尼加拉瓜接受长时间的训练, 和像莱斯特这样的人一起工作. “I feel like there aren’t a lot of graduate students who get that opportunity to go to someone else’s country and work with their team.”

UNAN-León博士.D. program is training the next generation of scientists of really brilliant people like Lester, 谁有机会充分发挥自己的潜力, 这就是为什么这类项目如此重要. 人 like Lester are going to be the next generation of people in Nicaragua who will continue these programs.”