Research Stream


Dogma, ecology, and potential reservoirs for Leishmania donovani in Bihar, India

Dr. Petersen is the Director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (CEID) at the University of Iowa housed within the Department of Epidemiology. The focus of this center is to bring together trans-disciplinary research teams to lessen the burden of emerging zoonotic infectious diseases across health settings. These efforts bring together immunologists, vaccinologists and computational biologists/biostatisticians to attack the problem of vaccine-intractable infections through statistical hierarchical modeling of protective immunity. CEID-based efforts have led to published collaborative studies.

Dr. Petersen is also the principal investigator and last author in studies that follow the immunopathology of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and tick-borne diseases, including Borreliosis (LD) in a canine natural disease model, including  studies of dogs infected with visceralizing Leishmania spp in the US, Brazil and India and in people in Brazil and Ethiopia. She is Co-I of an R01 “Epidemic modeling framework for complex, multi-species disease processes,” working with Drs. Oleson and Brown, based on her laboratory’s wet-lab discoveries of canine progressive leishmaniosis. Dr. Petersen has also led multiple field and vaccine trials as PI on Leishmania  vaccine immunogenicity study to the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI). This led to further trials of experimental vaccine immunogenicity ex vivo in cells from a hunting dog cohort, published in Vaccine in 2015 . The safety portion of this trial was published in AJTMH in 2018. Her active research group is focused on the long term goal of understanding how to best protect people and animals from vector-borne diseases through effective treatment and/or vaccination.

Director of the Center for Emerging Infectious DiseasesEpidemiology DepartmentIOWA College of Public Health145 N. Riverside DriveIowa City, IA 52242, USA

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