Kimberly Faldetta

Kimberly Faldetta

Kimberly Faldetta grew up in Massachusetts before studying at McGill University for her undergraduate degree. During her parasitology courses at McGill, Kimberly became captivated by tropical medicine. This fascination led her to Iquitos, Peru in 2009, where she spent a year studying malaria in pregnancy under Dr. OraLee Branch, Ph.D. of New York University and the Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana.

In 2010, Kimberly matriculated at Penn State College of Medicine, where she has completed three years of medical school. Kimberly was selected for the Global Health Scholars Program, and has worked with Dr. David Craft, Ph.D. to found an Iquitos research site that collaborates with the Naval Medical Research Unit 6. Kimberly is an active member of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), serving as their National Global Health Chair from 2012-2013. She currently serves as the National Student Chair for the American Women’s Hospital Services (AWHS).

Following her third year, Kimberly joined the Medical Research Scholars Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she worked under Dr. Irini Sereti, M.D. to examine the clinical and immunologic characteristics of HIV infected patients who developed Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infections.

In August, Kimberly will join the laboratory of Dr. Rick Fairhurst, M.D., Ph.D. at the NIH to begin her Ph.D. studies in the NIH-Oxford Scholars Program. She will research the mechanism behind artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Southeast Asia. She is excited for the Benjamin H. Kean Travel Fellowship in Tropical Medicine, which will allow her to travel to Bangkok, Thailand to collaborate with physician scientists at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit.



Project: "Investigating artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum in Southeast Asia"
October 5, 2014 - December 20, 2014
Bangkok, Thailand & Cambodia

 


What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
It is humbling to look at the list of past recipients and recognize the names of highly respected tropical medicine researchers. I am honored to receive this fellowship.

What do you anticipate learning?
The Kean Fellowship will allow me to travel to Bangkok, Thailand to work with tropical medicine experts at Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU). I know that the talented physician scientists at MORU will be instrumental in helping me get started on my Ph.D. research by introducing me to the culture and practices surrounding malaria on the ground. I am eager to see the laboratory and field sites, which will prepare me for operating my own field site in the future.

What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
My Ph.D. will investigate the mechanism behind artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Southeast Asia. Questions I hope to address include:

  • What are the drivers of genetic mutations that underlie resistance?
  • How can we stop the spread of artemisinin-resistant malaria?
  • What will the future of anti-malarial therapy look like?
In the future, I hope to be involved in global eradication efforts of malaria and neglected tropical diseases.