Global Health, Technology and Innovation Track

Global Health, Technology and Innovation

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Chellam photo Shankar Chellam, PhD

Dr. Shankar Chellam is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Houston. He has a B.E. (Honors) in Mechanical Engineering and a M.Sc (honors) in Chemistry from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Environmental Science and Engineering, from Rice University. Outside of his academic experience, he has worked for 7-years in the chemical process industry and in environmental consulting. He is an avid aficionado of the heavy metal musical genera most recently seeing Manowar live at the House of Blues.

Metals in the air we breathe and microorganisms in the water we drink: Characterization and purification

This presentation covers two disparate topics, both of which have important environmental and public health implications. First, my research group’s contributions to trace metals characterization in airborne particulate matter will be discussed. We develop innovative analytical techniques to measure numerous metals as the first step in source apportionment. This also provides the basis to evaluate the “metals hypothesis,” i.e. that the metals content of aerosols leads to acute and chronic health effects. We use lanthanoid metals to quantify primary emissions from petroleum refineries and long-range dust transport from the Sahara desert to Houston. Secondly, recent results from our laboratories on the filtration of bacteria and viruses from contaminated water supplies will be shared. Visual evidence for the underlying mechanisms by which bacteria clog filters will be shown. A novel electrochemical technique for the pre-coagulation and inactivation of viruses will also be presented.

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Leautaud Veronica Leautaud, PhD

Veronica Leautaud is the Director of Education for Beyond Traditional Borders at Rice 360˚ Institute for Global Health Technologies. In this position, she leads educational initiatives and design programs in global health technology development. Previously, she worked as a Research Scientist at Rice University’s Department of Bioengineering, focusing on the development and clinical translation of imaging technologies and molecular diagnostics, with a special emphasis in making these technologies suitable for low resource settings. Dr. Leautaud’s previous training and teaching experience is in the areas of viral replication and cancer cell biology. She holds a B.S. from Universidad Iberoamericana, in Mexico City, and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences in Public Health from Harvard University.

Improving Lives Through Technology Innovation at Rice 360

Health disparities throughout the world are due in part to the lack of appropriate, affordable, and effective health technologies in the settings where they are most needed. Based at Rice University in Houston, Texas, Rice 360˚ Institute for Global Health Technologies works to address this problem. In partnership with communities throughout the world, Rice 360˚ students and staff work to design and implement low-cost, high-performance health technologies that address major global health challenges. Over 60,000 people in 28 countries have benefited from 58 new global health technologies and programs designed by 444 students in Rice 360˚’s Beyond Traditional Borders Initiative. This presentation will give an overview of the need for appropriate healthcare technology, outline the Rice 360˚ approach for addressing these needs, and describe several technology solutions developed and implemented through the Rice 360˚ Institute.

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Kathleen_Rubins_portrait Kate Rubins, PhD

Dr. Rubins conducted her undergraduate research on HIV-1 integration in the Infectious Diseases Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She obtained her Ph.D. from Stanford University and, with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rubins and colleagues developed the first model of smallpox infection. She also developed a complete map of the poxvirus transcriptome and studied virus-host interactions using both in vitro and animal model systems. Dr. Rubins was a fellow and principal investigator at MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where her lab studied viral diseases that affect Central and West Africa. Her research focused on poxviruses and host-pathogen interaction as well as viral mechanisms for regulating host cell mRNA transcription, translation and decay. In addition, she conducted research on transcriptome and genome sequencing of poxviruses (Smallpox and Monkeypox), filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg virus) and Arenaviruses (Lassa virus) and collaborative projects with the U.S. Army to develop vaccines and therapeutics for these viruses. In 2009, Dr. Rubins was selected as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class and is currently training for long duration spaceflight aboard the International Space Station.

Science in Extreme Environments: Building Extraterrestrial and Earth-based Research Capabilities

Biomedical and human health research on the frontier presents unique and fascinating challenges. Dr. Rubins’ presentation will focus on the exceptional research environment of the International Space Station and parallels to earth-based research in challenging environments such as high containment biosafety laboratories and disease outbreaks in remote Central African villages.

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Global Health, Technology and Innovation Panel

Moderator: Veronica Leautaud, PhD

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Meese Profile-1 Katherine Meese, MPH

Katherine Meese is the Manager of Global Education & Training at Houston Methodist Hospital, developing education and training programs for physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals from over 45 countries and 100 institutions worldwide. A native of Austin, Texas, Katherine Meese graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Finance. After graduation, Texas A&M sent her to Rwanda with the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture to work on a microfinance project in the coffee sector. During her time there, she became interested in global health and education. She then joined the finance team for a large energy company, where she had the opportunity to work in Thailand, Singapore, China, Vietnam and Bangladesh. Specifically during her time in Bangladesh, her interest in global health was rekindled. She returned to pursue a Master of Public Health, where she had the opportunity to get involved with Safe Mothers Safe Babies (SAFE) in Uganda, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors.

Technology Step 2… Step 1?

Technological advancement and innovation is progressing at alarming rates, yet in many healthcare systems technical solutions fail. Why? The goal of this presentation is to highlight barriers to successful implementation of new technologies in the global health arena, and opportunities for creating a foundation that supports technological advancement.

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Robert Ricketts, MD

Robert M. Ricketts, M.D. grew up in Baltimore Maryland. He attended college at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster Pennsylvania. He graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 2011. Currently he is in his third year of a combined Pediatrics/ Global Health residency at Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital. He is recently returned from a year in Maseru Lesotho caring for children living with HIV. While in Maseru, he conducted a successful kickstarter campaign to fund the book Our Little Soldiers: A Book for Children Living with HIV. His future plans are a career in academic Neonatology focused on developing world neonatal morbidity and mortality.

Crowdfunding as an Avenue to Fund Global Health Projects

In the era of government austerity and economic uncertainty, funding for global health projects is becoming increasingly hard to obtain. As such, many have begun to use internet crowdfunding platforms to bring their projects to life. This presentation will discuss crowdfunding as a potential bridge for funding global health projects. It will explain important concepts of these emerging sources of funding. It will explore important components of a successful crowdfunding campaign, the benefits of using crowdfunding, and the drawbacks of crowdfunding.

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MingyangZhu Lucy Zhu, BS, BA

Mingyang (Lucy) Zhu is a Co-Founder and the Director of Development of the Interdisciplinary Health Network (IHN), an online global health education organization whose mission is to train the next generation of global health leaders. Through IHN, she is leading the development of three online learning institutes on TB, HIV/AIDS, and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) featuring speakers from world-renowned organizations such as the World Health Organization, Oxford University, and the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee. As a Coca-Cola scholar and a Rice/Baylor Medical Scholar, Lucy graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Rice University with a B.S. in biology and a B.A. in management. At Rice, she conducted research on infectious diseases, focusing her honors senior thesis on population dynamics involving alternative microcosmic states via a beetle model. She is currently continuing her education as a second-year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine. Lucy hopes to become a physician focusing on comprehensive care via a biopsychosocial approach. She is also interested in hospital management and hopes to obtain a MBA in the future.

The Next Generation of Global Health Education: Introducing the Interdisciplinary Health Network

The Interdisciplinary Health Network (IHN) is an online education organization whose goal is to train the next generation of global health leaders via an interdisciplinary approach. IHN’s training model gives a complete understanding of disease, its impact, and strategies for prevention. For this, IHN uses an online learning platform to teach disease from different perspectives, including community development, social entrepreneurship, clinical care, laboratory research, operational research, and policy advocacy. The outcome is a series of holistic, disease-based courses spanning three weeks that offer lectures, live webinars, and interactive Q&A sessions hosted by top professionals around the globe. The online platform integrates software such as Cisco WebEx, Moodle, Dropbox, and Google Drive to make these courses available to students worldwide. By building on the latest online technology, IHN hopes to establish a consortium of global health leaders equipped with skills to holistically tackle global health issues.

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Oral Abstracts

Hacking for Human Rights: An Open Data Project to Improve Global Occupational Fatality Surveillance
Bethany Boggess
Using Mobile Phones to Augment Immunization Efforts in Palestinian Refugee Camps
Bahrani Eman, Batoul Abuharb, Cherie Fathy, and Jordan Schermerhorn
Frugal Innovation for the First World: Forward Thinking Solutions to Healthcare Often Begin in Reverse
Rahul Rekhi
BiliQuant: A Spectrophotometric Jaundice Diagnostic for the Developing World
Stephanie Tzouanas, Melody Tan, Jacinta Leyden, Monica Barrera, and Rohan Shah


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