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The Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health

The Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health

The Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health at Indiana University School of Medicine is improving the health of children in Indiana and worldwide through the reduction and prevention of infection. With a research focus on malaria and HIV, infections that represent the leading causes of death and disability in children worldwide, faculty physicians at this center are recognized nationally for their work in global health. In 2020, with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers in the Ryan White Center have initiated multiple SARS-CoV-2 studies in children and adults.

Malaria Research

Malaria research at the Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health focuses on why children develop severe malaria and the neurodevelopment consequences of severe malaria. Investigators are exploring the risks of malaria in children with sickle cell disease and the effects of changing transmission on malaria immunity.

Andrea Conroy Lab

Andrea Conroy, PhD, has two main areas of focus. First, she is interested in understanding how malaria in pregnancy alters the expression of proteins important for regulating placental blood vessel development and fetal growth. Second, she is evaluating the long-term implications of acute kidney injury on clinical recovery from severe malaria.

Dibyadyuti Datta Lab

The Dibyadyuti Datta, PhD lab focuses on both her research interests and experience that have been geared towards a better understanding of parasites biology at a molecular and biochemical level, with a specific focus on developing tools to fight the infection within communities. Her research also focuses on SARS-CoV-2 immunity and prevalence of asymptomatic infection in Indiana among children and adults.

Chandy John Lab

The Chandy John lab research focuses on the pathogenesis, immunology, and epidemiology of malaria, including the neurodevelopmental complications of malaria, and on prevention of infections, including malaria, in children with sickle cell disease. More recently, his lab has also shifted to studying SARS-CoV-2 in children and adults in Indiana, with a focus on immunity and recovery after exposure and the prevalence of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 in the community.

Nathan Schmidt Lab

Nathan Schmidt, PhD, has research that is focused on defining the factors that impact malaria pathogenesis. One of the observations made by his lab was that the composition of bacteria residing within the intestinal tract can profoundly impact the severity of malaria. The influence of gut microbiota on malaria remains a central focus of his research.

Tuan Tran Lab

Tuan Tran, MD, PhD, studies both naturally acquired and vaccine-induced immunity to malaria using systems biology approaches. More specifically, his lab interrogates the immune system by applying multi-omic technologies to samples obtained from well-defined cohort studies of malaria-exposed individuals.

HIV Research

HIV research at IU School of Medicine’s Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health focuses on adherence to HIV medications, stigma in HIV, disclosure of HIV status to children, evaluation and treatment of HIV in adolescents, and neurodevelopmental impairment in infants exposed to HIV.

Jimmy Carlucci

Jimmy Carlucci, MD, MPH, is engaged in global HIV health services and implementation research with the goal of improving maternal-child health in resource-constrained settings. Current projects include investigations into long-term outcomes of postpartum women living with HIV and HIV-exposed infants, the impact of Mentor Mothers/peer support strategies on mother-infant HIV outcomes, and the influence of evolving antiretroviral therapy guidelines on pediatric HIV diagnostic and treatment outcomes.

Leslie Enane

Leslie Enane, MD, has research that focuses on global child health with an interest in HIV and TB care for children and adolescents. Her recent work has looked at barriers and facilitators to adolescent retention in HIV care.

Alka Khaitan

Alka Khaitan, MD, has research that involves pediatric HIV, T-cell immunology, and global child health. Her work contributes to the understanding of severe and lasting immune disruptions associated with HIV disease progression in children despite successful antiretroviral treatment. Dr. Khaitan co-leads the DISCOVER study, which investigates the development of immunity after SARS-CoV-2 exposure and recovery in both children and adults in Indiana.

Megan McHenry

Megan McHenry, MD, has cross-cultural research that focuses on global child health with a particular interest in neurodevelopment in children born to HIV-infected mothers and implementation science.

COVID-19 Research

A look at studies being conducted in the Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health on SARS-CoV-2 and the Indiana community.

Ryan White Center researchers studying COVID-19


Drs. James Wood and Chandy John launched the TACTIC (Tracking Asymptomatic COVID-19 Through Indianapolis Communities) study, a community-based cross-sectional cohort study to define the prevalence of asymptomatic carriage of SARS-CoV-2 in Marion County. A collaborative effort between the Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health, the Pediatric Translational Research Center, and Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI), the TACTIC study was the first community study in the U.S. to assess active infection in both adults and children. With the indefatigable help of IU medical students and John Lab members, the study team were able to deliver/pick up swab kits and test over 500 individuals throughout Marion County. The study, published in Cureus, 2020, found 1/511 individuals positive for SARS-CoV-2, with an overall prevalence of 0.2% in adults and 0.8% in children (n=119).

Eliud Odhiambo working on the TACTIC-2 study for the Ryan White Center


As a follow-up to the TACTIC study, Drs. James Wood, Dibyadyuti Datta, and Chandy John launched the TACTIC-2, which aims to determine the prevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in the TACTIC community cohort of adults and children by IgG/IgM lateral flow assay rapid diagnostic tests, IgG and IgM SARS-CoV-2 spike antigen ELISA, “gold standard” clinical lab anti-Spike IgG, and neutralizing antibodies in IgG positive individuals.

DISCOVER covid-19 antibody study


Drs. Alka Khaitan, Dibyadyuti Datta, and Chandy John are conducting a study to understand the Development of Immunity after SARS-CoV-2 Exposure and Recovery (DISCOVER). This study, which will follow individuals for one year, will help us understand if the presence of antibodies correlate with protective immunity and if there are other correlates of immunity. This will include COVID-19 positive individuals who have asymptomatic infection, mild disease (not hospitalized), or severe disease (who were hospitalized or in the ICU), which will help to understand whether immune responses vary in asymptomatic vs. symptomatic individuals. Watch the study launch video here.

POSCoR studies the prevalence of COVID-19 in children with respiratory viral symptoms


Drs. Jack Schneider, Dibyadyuti Datta, and Chandy John lead the POSCoR (Prevalence Of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Children assessed for Other Respiratory infection) study, which investigates the prevalence of COVID-19 in children with respiratory viral symptoms. Children who are seen for respiratory viral symptoms are often tested for presence of viral RNA using PCR from a nasal swab. In this study, the team is testing those swabs for SARS-CoV-2 after they are tested for other viral infections. This study will also help understand the demographic characteristics of children who are testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and how their symptoms compare to children who have respiratory viral symptoms, but do not test positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Pediatrics Research Blog

Research faculty throughout IU School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics post updates about their work to the Pediatrics blog. Stay up-to-date about medical research in pediatrics.

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