Explore UAB

To the Division of ID at UAB, Global Infectious Diseases Research brings unique strengths and opportunities. Of important note, multiple ID research faculty live with their families in sub-Saharan Africa, in proximity to research sites. Others formerly lived abroad in Africa for years at a time and are now Birmingham-based. Local clinical and lived experiences create unique opportunities for our trainees to experience health systems, diseases and care and thus ask well-informed questions with meaningful and ongoing input from local stakeholders. Our group supports UAB mentees to spend time abroad as part of their training. We also mentor numerous non-UAB mentees in global ID research. We believe strongly in de-colonization of global health.

Research focus areas in Global ID Research:

Broadly we focus on chronic infections of global health importance, including HIV, tuberculosis, and viral hepatitis, and comorbidities that complicate clinical outcomes in patients with these infections. We employ a wide range of methodologies including translational science, clinical trials, and increasingly implementation science.

Key Faculty:

lynn matthews 250x250Lynn Matthews, M.D., MPH is an Infectious Diseases doctor, UAB Associate Professor of Medicine, and Director of Research and Partnerships for the Mary Heersink Institute of Global Health (MHIGH). Dr. Matthews directs the Global Infectious Diseases Research section for the UAB Division of Infectious Diseases. Her research focuses on the development and evaluation of medical and behavioral interventions to reduce HIV incidence in the context of sexual and reproductive health. Since the mid-2000s her research has occurred primarily in South Africa and Uganda, where she lived for periods of time. Since joining UAB as an Associate Professor in 2019 her research has expanded to the U.S. Deep South, including projects on mobile-based HIV testing, understanding HIV risk among Black women, and opportunities to promote HIV PrEP for adolescent girls and young women in Alabama. Her research is funded by multiple grants from the NIH.

carolyn bolton moore 250x250Carolyn Bolton-Moore, M.D. Carolyn Bolton-Moore, MD, is a South African physician who has been living and working in Zambia since 2004. Her expertise is in pediatric and adolescent care and treatment, and prevention of mother to child transmission interventions. She has worked on NIH funded and pharmaceutical-funded pediatric clinical research projects since 2002, initially at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Johannesburg, South Africa (an NIH IMPAACT and HVTN site) and from 2004 to 2017 at the CIDRZ Clinical Research Site in Lusaka, Zambia. She has been combining pediatric and adolescent research and implementation science within the Zambian public health system for over 15 years. As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bolton-Moore provides support for a large care and treatment program of over 5,000 adolescent patients and has experience and expertise in treating adults, adolescents, and children. She is a protocol co-chair of IMPAACT P2017, an exciting phase 1/2 clinical trial, the first study to use long acting injectable antiretrovirals in adolescents. She is also PI on an NIH R01 award focusing on improving testing and linkage to care amongst adolescent girls. She has served as a Co-Investigator on the Southern African region of the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) network since 2008.

jodie dionne odom 250x250

Jodie Dionne, M.D., MSPH is an Infectious Diseases doctor, Chief of Women's Health at the UAB 1917 Clinic (UAB’s state-of-the-art HIV clinic in Birmingham), and the Associate Director of Global Health in the UAB Center for Women's Reproductive Health. Based in Birmingham, Dr. Dionne leads clinical trials to identify new ways to treat and prevent infections in women, especially in pregnancy, and teaches and mentors students and trainees working to improve pregnancy infection outcomes. Dr. Dionne's global health research is occurring in Cameroon and Zambia, where she formerly lived, and focuses on syphilis, malaria, and hepatitis B among pregnant women their children.

renee heffron 250x250Renee Heffron, Ph.D., MPH is an Epidemiologist, Professor of Medicine, and the Director for the Center for AIDS Research at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine where she is based. Her research, teaching, and mentoring is dedicated to advancing the field of HIV prevention, often by leveraging intersections with reproductive health. Currently, she has been particularly focused on oral PrEP and utilizing a variety of research methods from clinical epidemiology, implementation science, causal inference, behavioral science, and qualitative research to study effectiveness and optimizing delivery of oral PrEP among young women and HIV serodiscordant couples. Most of her work has been focused on populations in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa. She previously lived abroad for long stretches of time in Zambia, Belize, and Lesotho. Her approach to her work is grounded in strategies that promote anti-racism and anti-colonialism.

german henostroza 250x250German Henostroza, M.D. is an Infectious Diseases doctor and Professor of Medicine at UAB. He is Peruvian by background, and since 2015 has served as Director of the Gorgas Course in Clinical Tropical Medicine (https://www.uab.edu/medicine/gorgas/), a collaborative initiative between UAB and Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. He is also the Director of William Crawford Gorgas Center for Geographic Medicine. He oversees the Gorgas Scholarship Award that supports international research experience for UAB medical students and residents as well as a pilot grant program for collaborative work with Peruvian and UAB investigators in tropical diseases. His own research primarily focuses on tuberculosis point of care diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutic clinical trials, and health systems implementation in vulnerable populations with emphasis in prisoners. He previously lived full-time in Zambia for 9 years and has active collaborations there as well as in Panama, Peru, and Antigua and Barbuda.

rena patel

Dr. Rena Patel, MD, MPH, MPhil (Associate Professor, Infectious Diseases) joins our faculty from the University of Washington (UW). In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Patel is a physician-scientist who conducts mixed methods research, using both qualitative and quantitative tools, in HIV, reproductive health, and health equity in the U.S., Kenya, and South Africa. She conducts studies, from cohort to pharmaco-kinetic or -vigilance studies to clinical trials, regarding family planning and hormonal contraception, drug-drug interactions, pregnancy and infant outcomes, treatment monitoring and technologies for resource-limited settings, and health inequities as they affect adults and children living with HIV. She also joins the UAB Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center as Assistant Director, where she will continue her work in examining social determinants of adverse outcomes at the intersections of the HIV and COVID-19 epidemics and leading community engagement in big data efforts. Prior to joining UW, she was Assistant Professor in Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she completed her infectious diseases training. Dr. Patel completed her medical school and residency at Stanford University, MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health, and MPhil in Sociology from University of Cambridge. She has previously also worked in India, Tanzania, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Uganda.

michael vinikoor 250x250Michael Vinikoor, M.D. is an Infectious Diseases and Medpeds doctor, who splits his time between Zambia and Malawi. He has been embedded with the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) since 2012. His research has 3 foci as follows. His first focus is on hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in sub-Saharan Africa including understanding differences in the natural history compared to other settings, analysis of the immunology of HBV/HIV coinfection, and implementation of public health activities to promote hepatitis elimination. Secondly, he is conducting trials of lay health worker interventions for people with HIV and comorbid behavioral health issues (alcohol use and symptoms of mental illness) in Zambia and Alabama, and is interested in alcohol biomarkers and alcohol translational science. Finally, he is exploring HIV patient care transitions that occur after hospitalization in Zambia and Malawi and how to intervene on high post-discharge mortality using systems-based approaches.

emily wong 250x250Emily Wong, M.D. is an Infectious Diseases doctor and Assistant Professor of Medicine at UAB whose work focuses on tuberculosis (TB) pathogenesis, immunity and epidemiology, mostly in the context of HIV infection. To address these questions, she uses a range of techniques that span molecular to population science. She has worked and lived in South Africa since 2003 and is embedded at the African Health Research Institute where she has a resident faculty appointment and runs a laboratory. She is also working to establishing unique human cohorts to address fundamental questions about infectious diseases and immune responses. She is also analyzing interactions between infectious and non-infectious chronic diseases in South Africa. Her research is funded by NIH, Wellcome, Burroughs Wellcome, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Selected Other UAB ID Faculty with Significant Global Health Experience & Collaborations:

ellen eaton 250x250Ellen Eaton, M.D. is an Infectious Diseases doctor and UAB Associate Professor who works at the intersection of substance use and HIV. Her research includes HIV implementation science around screening and management of substance use in rural Alabama and in Zambia. Her research and patient care centers on infectious consequences of substance use and mental illness. Her lab is developing and testing interventions to link patients to addiction treatment and prevention across the HIV care continuum in both acute care and community-based settings. Ellen is the Director of the Office Based Opioid Treatment Clinic at the 1917 HIV Clinic and a member of the leadership team at UAB's Center for Addiction and Pain Prevention Intervention. She is the Chair of the IDSA Grants for Emerging Investigator's (GERM) Program and a member of the IDSA/HIVMA Opioid Working Group.

barbara van der pol 250x250Barbara Van Der Pol, Ph.D., MPH is an Infectious Diseases Professor of Medicine trained as a medical laboratory scientist with a Ph.D. in Health Behavior. She is the Director of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine ID STD Clinical Research Organization and ID STD Laboratory. She is presently consulting with the World Health organization on a project designed to set STI research priorities through 2030 and another that is updating the WHO Laboratory Diagnostic Manual. She is also the Chair of the Microbiology Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health/Food and Drug Administration. Her research focuses on healthcare utilization behaviors including vaccine acceptability and implementation research related to adoption of highly sensitive point of care testing in clinical settings. She is working with several developers of STI diagnostic products intended for over-the-counter use in the home and the ramifications of the control and management-shift this will necessitate. She is a co-investigator or a mentor on several studies evaluating sexual healthcare and PrEP service provision to underserved and marginalized populations.


For more information, please contact:

lynn matthews 250x250

Lynn Matthews, MD, MPH
Associate Professor
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Heersink School of Medicine, 
Division of Infectious Diseases

Exploring Intersectional Stigmas Among Men Living with HIV in Uganda - The SHINE Study SHINE Team, Mbarara, Uganda June 2022exploring intersectional stigmas among men living with hiv in uganda shine studyBack Row L-R: Madeline Pratt, Rosemary Kansiime, Tricia Smith, Moran Owembabazi, Pooia Chitneni, M.D. Front Row L-R: Esther Atukunda, Ph.D. (Project Director), Lynn Matthews, M.D., Eunice Kanini, Johnmary Tumwine, Deogratias Tukwasiibwe

health families clinic team mbarara uganda june 2018Health Families Clinic Team Mbarara, Uganda June 2018

hepR01Hepatits R01 Study Team Training, Lusaka, Zambia

HepWorldDayDrs. Michael Vinikoor and Edford Sinkala on World Hepatitis Day, Lusaka, Zambia

IpadzStudy team meeting for Inpatient Package to Reduce AIDS Death in Zambia (IPADZ). Pictured L to R: Mr. Chiti Bwalya, Ms. Taonga Msuonda, Dr. Edford Sinkala, and Dr. Michael Vinikoor

fibrosCIDRZ Research Nurse Anita Mumba performing a ‘Fibroscan’ to check for liver cirrhosis at University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia

CIDRZElizabeth Mupinde from CIDRZ briefing the Kanyama 1st Level Hospital (Lusaka, Zambia) staff on a new research project focused on Alcohol and HIV.

MV and LTMDrs. Lynn Mathews and Mike Vinikoor with Tukiya Kanguya and Carolyn Chibundi Sichela discussing audio assisted computer self-interviews to screen for behavioral health issues in patients with HIV at Matero Level 1 Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia

WorldHepDay2019ZambiaWorld Hepatitis Day event, Lusaka, Zambia

annie at clinicAnnie Kanunga, Hepatitis-focused research nurse at University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia

AHRIUAB and Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) Connections - Emily Wong's AHRI Lab in Durban, South Africa (December 2022)

MRUMatCH Research Unit (MRU) - Investigators Lynn Matthews (front row right) and Jenni Smit (front row second from right) and the "Safer Conception for Women - Understanding use of Periconception PrEP" study team in Durban South Africa (December 2022)