Melby named director of the UTMB Center for Tropical Diseases
GALVESTON, Texas — Dr. Peter C. Melby, world-renowned expert and scholar in the field of tropical and infectious diseases, has joined the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston as director of the UTMB Center for Tropical Diseases and professor in the departments of internal medicine (division of infectious diseases), microbiology and immunology, and pathology.
Dr. Clinton White, director of UTMB’s Infectious Diseases Division stated, “We are honored to have such a distinguished scientist and outstanding leader in the field coming to direct the Center for Tropical Diseases.”
Melby’s interest in tropical diseases and the neglected diseases of resource-poor developing countries began 30 years ago when he first worked overseas in rural Egypt. Since then, his research has included projects in India, North Africa, Honduras and Colombia.
His research, which has been well-funded over 20 years by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, has focused on the immunopathogenesis of parasitic diseases, in particular leishmaniasis, a disease that has plagued more than 1,500 U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Currently, his laboratory is involved in studies related to vaccine development, drug discovery, immunopathological mechanisms of disease and the role of malnutrition in susceptibility to infection.
Joining Melby is Bruno L. Travi, associate professor in the departments of internal medicine and microbiology and immunology. He also has worked extensively in the field of leishmaniasis, including studies of immunopathogenesis, drug treatment and field studies.
The UTMB Center for Tropical Diseases was founded in 1994 under the leadership of Dr. David Walker. More than 100 separate laboratories have been involved with the center, which is world-renowned for studies of vector-borne viruses, bacteria and parasites (diseases transmitted by ticks, mosquitoes and other insects). Its mission is to alleviate suffering caused by tropical diseases through basic, applied and field research, education and service.
Members of the center have played key leadership roles in tropical medicine throughout the world. In leading the Center for Tropical Diseases, Melby is joined by Nisha Garg, professor in the department of microbiology and immunology, who has been appointed as associate director.