Brandon Berger

I am a fourth year MD student at the University of Chicago. I became interested in tropical parasitology, and Leishmania in particular, through research stays at the Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Medicas in Cali, Colombia, and have continued to pursue this interest in Mexico. When I am not thinking about parasites, I am a birdwatcher and a cyclist.

Project: "Association of sub-optimal fetal growth with placental Leishmania infection"
June 1, 2017 - July 2, 2017

What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
The support of the Kean Fellowship gives me the opportunity to develop my interest in tropical parasitology and to build collaborations with researchers in Mexico City and Tabasco. I am looking forward to this opportunity during a time when I am considering my next steps after medical school.

What do you anticipate learning?
I am hoping to build my knowledge not only of leishmaniasis, the disease that I will be studying, but also of the medical and research systems in a neighboring country.  I foresee collaboration with doctors, scientists and public health officials in Mexico as a means of broadening my thinking about the way healthcare is prioritized and delivered outside of the system in which I have been educated.

What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
Tropical medicine is a field in which research can have a prodigious effect on patients’ lives, as many remaining blank spaces in our knowledge of these diseases are pressing and within reach of intervention.

I am most motivated by questions related to under-diagnosis and underreporting of neglected tropical diseases.  I am particularly interested in identifying areas of previously unrecognized impact, as well as opportunities to respond to these impacts through tools such as epidemiology, modeling and cartography.