HSPH-SJRI Faculty

Primary St. John’s Research Institute Faculty

Anura Kurpad, M.D., Ph.D. is Dean of the SJRI and the Head of its Nutrition Unit. Dr. Kurpad holds an M.D. in Physiology from St. John’s Medical College and a Ph.D. in Nutrition from Bangalore University. His research interests are in the area of nutrient requirements, notably energy and protein. He works extensively with stable isotopic tools to measure the kinetics of different nutrients in the body. He is interested in adaptation, regulation of metabolism, micronutrient bioavailability and clinical nutrition. His current work includes research on the role of lysine intake and muscle function and anxiety in humans, and research on microbial contributions to leucine homeostasis.

Rebecca Kuriyan-Raj, M.Sc., M.Phil, Ph.D. is the Head of Clinical Nutrition Unit at SJRI. Her interests include the measurement of energy expenditure of normal individuals, elderly and patients with various health problems; the assessment of physical activity level of children and its relation to their body weight and eating habits; and risk assessment of individuals with various health problems using non -invasive methods of anthropometric, body compositional, dietary and physical activity assessment. She also is interested in generating evidence on the effect of supplementation of herbal extracts, based on reports in folklore, on life style related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and hyperlipidemia.

Mario Vaz, M.D. is Professor of Physiology at the St. John’s Medical College (SJMC) and heads the Epidemiology and Statistics Unit at the SJRI. Dr. Vaz holds an M.D. degree in Physiology/Nutrition and an M.B.B.S. in Medicine, Surgery from SJMC. He also runs the autonomic function laboratory at the Institute. His research interests include chronic energy deficiency, the epidemiology of chronic 15 diseases of aging and the epidemiology of TB. His recent work includes papers on diet and its role in coronary heart disease in India and how to tackle the challenge of cardiovascular disease burden in developing countries. He has won the award for the best research work by faculty at SJJMC three times in the last decade. Dr, Vaz is well known not only as a researcher but also as a teacher, having won recognition as the best teacher at several forums multiple times.

Tinku Thomas, M.Sc., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Epidemiology and Statistics Unit at the SJRI.  Dr. Thomas holds a M.S.c from Madras University and a Ph.D from National Institute of Mental health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore, India.  She has been involved in research studies in the field of psychiatry and psychiatric social work.  She has vast experience in handling large data sets from longitudinal studies and clinical trials, visual data quality checking, linear and non-linear regression analysis, structural equation modeling and latent structure analysis and application of disability assessment instruments.   She has successfully conducted courses in Research methodology and Biostatistics for post graduate students and faculty of the institution.

Primary Harvard School of Public Health Faculty

Christopher Duggan, M.D., M.P.H., is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at HMS and an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH. As Program Director, he will direct the scientific and administrative aspects of the program, including chairing the Steering Committee and recruiting additional Harvard and other faculty to participate in the program. He is a pediatric gastroenterologist and nutrition physician at Children’s Hospital, Boston and directs its Clinical Nutrition Service. His research interests include the nutritional management of acute and persistent diarrhea, clinical trials of micronutrient supplementation, and general aspects of nutritional support in catabolism. He is Co-Investigator on the Harvard-Muhimbili trial on the role of micronutrients among children born to HIV-positive women in Dar es Salaam as well as the PI of two NIH-funded studies: a trial of zinc and micronutrients in children born to HIV-uninfected women in Tanzania, and a trial of vitamin B12 supplementation among pregnant Indian women, a project performed in collaboration with Drs. Kurpad and Muthayya in Bangalore.

Wafaie W. Fawzi, M.B.B.S., Dr. P.H., is Chair of the Department of Global Health and Population and Professor of Nutrition, Epidemiology and Global Health at Harvard School of Public Health. He is the PI of several NIH-funded clinical trials including a recently completed NIH-funded trial investigating the effects of multivitamin supplementation on pregnancy outcomes, perinatal HIV transmission, and HIV disease progression among HIV-positive women and their children in Tanzania. Fawzi is currently co-Investigator of a large NIH-funded trial studying the effects of micronutrient supplements on diarrhea, respiratory infections, and other health outcomes among children in Dar es Salaam. He is also PI of the PEPFAR-funded HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Program in Dar es Salaam, which is scaling up care and treatment, and building operational research capacity in nutrition, infectious diseases, and provision of health services in maternal andchild clinics, as part of a broader health agenda among HIV-infected and uninfected adults and children.

Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H. is Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Chairman of Nutrition at HSPH. He gained international experience in Tanzania where he was a lecturer and Head of the Community Health Department at the University of Dar es Salaam. During his tenure at Harvard, he developed the dietary assessment methods for use in large epidemiologic studies that were integrated into the Nurses’ Health Study and that also serve as a basis for two other large cohort studies, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study II, totaling approximately 300,000 men and women.

Ronald Bosch, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Biostatistics at HSPH. He has collaborated with Drs. Duggan, Fawzi and other students and faculty in the Department of Nutrition for over 10 years, including study design, implementation, monitoring and analysis of clinical trials in Tanzania and India. He has mentored and supervised multiple international students in the Departments of Nutrition, Biostatistics and Epidemiology at HSPH, as well as other international collaborations involving analysis and publication of research on observational studies as well as randomized clinical trials in global health.

Richard Cash, M.D., M.P.H. is Senior Lecturer at HSPH. Since 2000, Dr. Cash has been the Principal Investigator of a Fogarty/NIH training grant on “Ethical Issues in International Health Research”. He conducts training workshops addressing topics such as informed consent, 16 confidentiality, investigator responsibilities, and the development of ethical review committees. He was the PI of the Applied Diarrheal Disease Research Project, a program which assisted scientists from developing countries to conduct independent research projects. This program funded over 150 studies, with more than 350 investigators in 12 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Research studies examined nutritional and behavioral measures for prevention and treatment of persistent diarrhea and acute respiratory infections. Dr. Cash’s experience in ethics training will be critical during the curriculum development and implementation processes.

Primary HINI Tufts University Faculty

Jeffrey K. Griffiths, MD, MPH&TM is a physician trained in internal medicine, pediatrics, infectious diseases and tropical medicine who is Director of the Global Health Division at Tufts University School of Medicine where he is an Associate Professor of Public Health, Medicine, Nutrition Science and Policy, and Engineering. The majority of his nutrition research has focused on micronutrients in malnourished children. He is currently partnering with the Serum Institute of India (in Pune) on the development of an heat-stable measles vaccine with NIH funding. Since 2001 he has developed educational collaborations with East African and Indian institutions using novel pedagogical techniques, in particular ones that involve jointly-developed internet based case discussions, shared curricula, and shared opportunities for discourse. Through this work he has developed expertise regarding the infrastructure, faculty and student, library, and IT needs required to mount successful internet based educational programs. Dr. Griffiths will contribute expertise in the provision of web learning, infrastructure/capacity building, and in collaborative education.

Patrick Webb, PhD is Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. His interests include food security, micronutrient deficiencies, humanitarian emergencies, water security and nutrition, risk and vulnerability assessment, international institutions, and development policy. He is the former Chief of Nutrition for the UN World Food Programme, member of the Steering Committee of the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition; member of the Millennium Project Task Force on Hunger that reported to the UN Secretary General and Dr. Jeffrey Sachs; Senior Fellow of the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn, Germany; and serves on the Boards of the International Nutritional Foundation, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, UNICEF; and was former chair of the WHO expert advisory panel on household food and nutrition security. He consults to World Bank, WHO. WFP, CARE, OFDA, USAID, UNICEF, and multiple foundations. He will contribute expertise relating to international programs as well as the disciplinary areas in which he is an expert, and assist in the recruitment of additional nutrition faculty.

Aviva Must, PhD is Dean for Academic Affairs for the Public Health programs at Tufts, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine at the School of Medicine, and Professor of Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is an international expert in the field of both adolescent and adult obesity, and childhood growth antecedents and adult health outcomes. She is also a Scientist at the Nutritional Epidemiology Laboratory of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. She will contribute expertise relating to international programs as well as the disciplinary areas in which he is an expert, and assist in the recruitment of additional public health faculty.