For the first time this fall, the Botswana–Harvard Partnership (BHP) will host two Fulbright–Fogarty Fellows. The program, sponsored in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was established to promote the expansion of research in public health and clinical research in resource-limited settings. The first two fellows are Tessa LeCuyer and Dr. Ryan Davis.
Tessa LeCuyer, age 26, spent her early years in northwestern New Mexico, where her parents worked as lawyers on a Navajo reservation. She attended Tufts University, where she majored in French and Biology and was captain of the equestrian team. After college she worked at the Harvard-affiliated Immune Disease Institute. She just completed her third year of veterinary school at Washington State University.
At the BHP, LeCuyer will be working on a project to validate the accuracy of tests for the incidence of new HIV infections in cross-sectional studies. “This is important because error rates in these tests vary among populations and have not yet been established in Botswana,” said LeCuyer.
After her Fulbright–Fogarty year, LeCuyer will finish veterinary school and may pursue a PhD. She hopes to work as both a clinician and scientist.
Dr. Ryan Davis, age 27, received his BA in English and Chemistry from Georgetown University. His undergraduate volunteer work at the Whitman-Walker HIV clinic inspired interests in health disparities, infectious diseases, and cross-cultural medicine. He earned an MPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and an MD from the Medical School for International Health, a Columbia University-affiliated program at Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, Israel.
At the BHP, Davis will study methods to optimize a pooled PCR technique to cost-effectively identify HIV cases in the earliest stages of infection when the viral load and risk of transmission are high but standard antibody tests can give a false-negative result.