Skip to Main Content

Albert Ko, MD

Raj and Indra Nooyi Professor of Public Health and Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Medicine (Infectious Diseases); Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health



Dr. Albert Icksang Ko is the Raj and Indra Nooyi Professor of Public Health at the Yale School of Public Health and a Collaborating Researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazilian Ministry of Health. His research centers on the health problems that have emerged as a consequence of rapid urbanization and social inequity. Dr. Ko coordinates a research program in Brazil, which focuses on delineating the role of social marginalization, urban ecology and climate in the emergence of infectious disease threats in slum communities and informal settlements. He and his team have mobilized research capacity to develop and implement community-based interventions to epidemics of meningitis, leptospirosis, dengue, Zika virus infection and associated birth defects, and the current COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Ko is also Program Director of the Fogarty/NIH Global Health Equity Scholars Program which provides research training opportunities for US and LMIC post and pre-doctoral fellows at collaborating international sites. He is a member of the WHO R&D Taskforce for Zika Virus and R&D Blueprint Working Group. During the pandemic, he served with Indra Nooyi as co-chair of Governor Lamont’s Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group. Dr. Ko continues to advise the Governor and the State on its pandemic prevention and control plan, in addition to supporting the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in its COVID-19 response in Brazil.

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    Weill Medical College of Cornell University (1997)
  • Infectious Disease Fellow
    Massachusetts General Hospital (1997)
  • Resident
    Brigham and Women's Hospital (1994)
  • MD
    Harvard Medical School (1991)
  • BS
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1981)


  • Zoonotic Disease and One Health Research
    Bangkok, Thailand 2015
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases and Urbanization
    Salvador, Brazil 1995
    The Division of International Medicine and Infectious Disease, Weill Medical College of Cornell University (Cornell) has had a joint training and research program on endemic tropical diseases with Brazilian institutions in the city of Salvador since the 1964. More recently, the investigations of Cornell and its Brazilian collaborators have brought to attention infectious diseases, such as epidemic leptospirosis, which have emerged in the urban setting due to rapid urbanization and increasing social inequality. Through the Fogarty-sponsored International Training in Emerging Infectious Diseases (ITREID) Program, we have been established at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Brazilian Ministry of Health in Salvador: 1) a multidisciplinary team of epidemiologists, clinicians, microbiologists and basic researchers, 2) on-going population-based surveillance for leptospirosis and bacterial meningitis; 2) a diagnostic laboratory that is now the national reference center for leptospirosis surveillance; 3) a molecular strain typing center, and 4) field sites to perform community-based longitudinal studies designed to identify determinants of transmission for leptospirosis and the etiologic pathogens for bacterial meningitis. Moreover, ITREID projects have convinced the Brazilian government to prioritize emerging infectious diseases such as leptospirosis, and in turn have led to national projects to sequence the Leptospira genome and develop a vaccine against leptospirosis. The infrastructure created at Fiocruz since 1996 provides a vehicle to pursue multidisciplinary training approaches for emerging infectious diseases. In this program, we are using leptospirosis and bacterial meningitis as disease models to address the following specific objectives: 1) Expand training opportunities that will provide Brazilian trainees at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) the capacity to develop treatment, control and prevention strategies for emerging infectious diseases; and 2) Work jointly with the Brazilian Ministry of Health to disseminate expertise already established at Fiocruz in laboratory-based surveillance, outbreak investigations and molecular epidemiology to other regions of Brazil. The program emphasizes the use of in-country expertise and resources to provide training. For the first aim, we proposed long-term training to 6 predoctoral and 2 postdoctoral fellows each year to address specific needs in expertise within the areas of clinical and field epidemiology, molecular epidemiology, pathogenesis and biotechnology application to develop public health interventions. In-country training provided by outstanding Brazilian mentors will be augmented with short training experiences in the institutions of long-standing US collaborators. For the second aim, Fiocruz is working with the National Center of Epidemiology, Brazilian Ministry of Health in providing short-term training opportunities and a yearly course, the National Course in Molecular Epidemiology in Emerging Infectious Diseases, which are designed to enhance the capacity of local public health epidemiologists and reference laboratory staff to perform laboratory-based surveillance and apply molecular strain typing tools to epidemiological investigations.

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
MemberAssociation of American Physicians2021
MemberConnecticut Academy of Science and Engineering2020
FellowAmerican Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene2019
Charles F. Craig LectureAmerican Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene2016
FellowAmerican College of Physicians2014
FellowInfectious Disease Society of America2008
Special Citation for Fellow-in-TrainingInfectious Disease Society of North America1997
Arnold Dunne AwardBrigham and Women's Hospital1992
MemberSigma Xi1981

Professional Service

Inaugural Expert Panel, Reckitt Global Hygiene InstituteBoard Member2020 - Present
R&D Roadmap for Zika Virus, World Health OrganizationTask Force Member2019 - Present
American Society of Tropical Medicine and HygieneMember, Board of Directors2018 - Present
Global Virus NetworkMember, Zika Task Force2016 - Present
National Institutes of HealthStanding Member, Clinical Research and Field Studies of Infectious Diseases (CRFS) Study Section2015 - 2019
PLoS Neglected Tropical DiseaseDeputy Editor2005 - Present
Urban Health Council of the Resident Associations of Pau da LimaFounding Member2002 - Present

Departments & Organizations