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Dr. Michael Cappello appointed chair of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases Department

September 02, 2022

Dr. Michael Cappello, MD, a professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine and a board-certified infectious diseases clinician, has been appointed chair of the Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases (EMD) Department, effective September 1, 2022.

Interim Dean Melinda Pettigrew announced Cappello's appointment in a schoolwide email on Friday, Sept. 2.

"Following a national search, Dr. Cappello was selected as the top candidate for the EMD chair position for his significant leadership and administrative experience with interdisciplinary, cross-campus programs, his extensive knowledge of Yale, and his unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion," Pettigrew said. "He has extensive interdisciplinary research experience, including a very successful global health program that spans lab and field approaches in global settings to achieve real-world impact and that complements the priorities of EMD."

In addition to his position as a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Cappello holds a secondary appointment in EMD and serves as an associate director of the Yale MD-PhD Program. He also serves as attending physician in the Pediatric Infectious Diseases section at the Yale-New Haven network of affiliated hospitals in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Cappello’s research combines the techniques of molecular biology, in vivo pathogenesis models, and field-based epidemiology to develop drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for parasitic diseases (i.e., hookworm, schistosomiasis, and malaria) that afflict people living in low-resource countries. The quality of his scientific contributions is evidenced by the high-impact publications he has authored, the grants he has secured from multiple funding bodies, the leadership roles he has played within international collaborations, and the awards he has received for his scientific work, Pettigrew said.

Cappello’s field-based research has been carried out in collaboration with colleagues in several countries that include Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala and Peru. He has over 115 publications in journals such as PNAS, Journal of Infectious Diseases, PLoS NTDs and the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Key findings of his research have confirmed that school age children experience highly variable responses to deworming treatment and his research has led to development of molecular methods to detect genetically mediated resistance in hookworm field isolates.

Cappello’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH, and the Burroughs Welcome Fund; current funding includes two R01 grants from NIAID and support from HopeXchange International. His honors include elected membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation, Society for Pediatric Research, and Council on Foreign Relations. Notably, Cappello received the Bailey K. Ashford Medal of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene for distinguished work in tropical medicine.

Pettigrew thanked the following members of the search committee for their participation and contributions; Theodore Cohen (YSPH), Sunil Parikh (YSPH), Ruth Montgomery (Yale School of Medicine), Julie Womack (Yale School of Nursing), Priti Kumar (Yale School of Medicine), Evelyn Hsieh Donroe (Yale School of Medicine) and Mayur Desai (YSPH), as well as Alyson Zeitlin and Natalie Turcio in the Office of Faculty and Staff Affairs for their support throughout the process.

"As a member of the EMD Department, chair of the search committee and now, interim dean of the school, I am both excited for Dr. Cappello’s acceptance of this leadership role and extraordinarily grateful for Dr. Serap Aksoy’s and Dr. Linda Niccolai’s interim leadership since April 2020, following a decade of Dr. Albert Ko’s tenure as chair," Pettigrew said. "Dr. Cappello, charged with refining and advancing the mission of EMD, will carry on a legacy of world-renowned research, academic innovations and advancing health for all as a reality."

Submitted by Colin Poitras on September 02, 2022