Ciccone Receives Burroughs Wellcome Fund/ASTMH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Tropical Infectious Diseases Award

Emily Ciccone, MD, MHS, a clinical instructor and fellow of infectious diseases in the UNC Department of Medicine, will use the fellowship to develop a new diagnostic test to identify Brucella as a cause of pediatric febrile illness in Kasese, Uganda.

Ciccone Receives Burroughs Wellcome Fund/ASTMH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Tropical Infectious Diseases Award click to enlarge Emily Ciccone, MD

January 7, 2020

Emily Ciccone, MD, MHS, a clinical instructor and fellow of infectious diseases in the UNC Department of Medicine, received one of the 2019 Burroughs Wellcome Fund/ASTMH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Tropical Infectious Diseases awards. This unique fellowship provides funding for individuals to conduct research in tropical infectious diseases (and, on occasion, other clinical conditions unique to tropical medicine). Dr. Ciccone proposes to develop a new diagnostic test to identify Brucella and pilot it among pediatric patients with febrile illness at the MUST (Mbarara University of Science and Technology) UNC Collaboration’s study site in Kasese, Uganda. Brucella is a type of bacteria that causes human brucellosis, an infectious disease that typically spreads from animals to people, mostly by unpasteurized dairy products.

During Ciccone’s previous stay in Uganda, local collaborators expressed a need for a better diagnostic test for human brucellosis. Subsequent discussions with Ciccone’s primary mentor, Jonathan Juliano, MD, whose lab, IDEEL, is currently developing diagnostic technologies for other tropical infectious diseases, led to the design of this project and application for the 2019 Burroughs Wellcome Fund opportunity. The initial test development will take place at IDEEL at UNC, and then it will be piloted in both a reference lab and rural health facility in Uganda.

Dr. Ciccone’s career goals are to help develop and implement rapid diagnostic tools in resource-limited settings to improve diagnosis and management of pediatric patients with febrile illnesses, particularly as it relates to antibiotic stewardship.

 “I am honored and thankful to be selected for such a competitive award by BWF and ASTMH,” Ciccone said. “I am particularly excited about this project because it seeks to address a need identified by local laboratory and clinical providers in Uganda.”

 

The fellowship will include two years of financial support at $65,000 per year to cover travel, stipend, fringe benefits, health insurance, and capacity development at the overseas site.

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