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Annual Research Awards

Amy Bei, PhD

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health
2022 YSPH Research Award: Team Science Award

Amy Bei and fellow faculty members Dan Weinberger, Josh Warren and Sunil Parikh were co-authors of a paper first-authored by YSPH EMD PhD student Hanna Ehrlich as part of her dissertation and published in PNAS, entitled “Mapping partner drug resistance to guide anti-malarial combination therapy policies in sub-saharan Africa.” This research project filled an important gap in the malaria literature at a time in which drug resistance is threatening the only available antimalarials on the market. The team’s work led to the creation of the first spatiotemporal map of drug resistance evolution and spread in two key mutations over the approximately 15-year deployment of these drugs. Also, the team explored variables that predict changes in drug-resistance prevalence and utilized statistical models to identify potential areas where drug resistance surveillance may be better targeted.

Kai Chen, PhD

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health)
Director of Research, Climate Change and Health
Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health
2022 YSPH Research Award: Early Career Investigative Award

Kai Chen’s paper published in Nature Communications, entitled “Role of Meteorological factors in the transmission of SARS-COV-2 in the United States,” set the standard for research examining the relationship between meteorological variables and SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Their findings indicated that cold and dry weather and low levels of UV radiation are moderately associated with increased SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the U.S., with specific humidity playing the greatest role. This article has received considerable attention. According to Almetric, it is in the 99th percentile of articles of a similar age in all journals.

Luke Davis, MD

Associate Director of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Medicine (Pulmonary)
Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health
2022 YSPH Research Award: Team Science Award

YSPH professors Luke Davis, Xin Zhou, Donna Spiegelman, Lauretta Grau and Linda Niccolai co-authored the dissertation by EMD MD/PhD student and first author Tyler Shelby, entitled “Lessons learned from covid-19 contact tracing during a public health emergency: prospective implementation study” and published in Frontiers in Public Health. This article exemplified all the best of team science at YSPH, in that a team led by our PhD students, with support from faculty and staff with backgrounds in epidemiology, biostatistics, psychology and medicine, formed a partnership with our local public health leaders in New Haven to provide a rapid, rigorous and transparent evaluation of volunteer-driven COVID-19 contact tracing in New Haven at the beginning of the pandemic. A comprehensive set of recommendations was rapidly returned to the New Haven Health Department, and the findings were published online and widely disseminated.

Michaela Dinan, PhD

Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases)
Co-leader, Cancer Prevention and Control, Yale Cancer Center
2022 YSPH Research Award: Investigator Award

Michaela Dinan’s award is for her paper published in JAMA Network Open entitled “Analysis of sociodemographic, clinical and genomic factors associated with breast cancer mortality in the linked Surveillance, Epidemiology, End-Results and Medicare database.” Breast cancer disparities research has been limited by a disconnect between health services and basic biological approaches. Dinan and colleagues conducted the first linkage of SEER-Medicare data to physical tumor samples and to investigate the interaction among screening detection, socioeconomic status, tumor stage, tumor biology, and breast cancer outcomes within a single context. Using tumor specimen blocks from a subset of women with newly diagnosed breast cancer, they found that even after adjustment for clinical and genomic factors, screening detection was associated with a 2.5-fold higher risk of breast cancer mortality, and socioeconomic status was associated with 5-fold higher risk of breast cancer mortality. Linkage of SEER-Medicare data to physical tumor specimens may elucidate associations among biology, health care access and disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

Hanna Ehrlich

PhD Candidate, Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)

As part of her dissertation, YSPH EMD PhD student Hanna Ehrlich lead-authored “Mapping partner drug resistance to guide anti-malarial combination therapy policies in sub-saharan Africa,” which was published in PNAS. YSPH faculty members Josh Warren, Amy Bei, Dan Weinberger and Sunil Parikh were co-authors. This research project filled an important gap in the malaria literature at a time in which drug resistance is threatening the only available antimalarials on the market. The team’s work led to the creation of the first spatiotemporal map of drug resistance evolution and spread in two key mutations over the approximately 15-year deployment of these drugs. Also, the team explored variables that predict changes in drug-resistance prevalence and utilized statistical models to identify potential areas where drug resistance surveillance may be better targeted.

Lauretta Grau, PhD

Research Scientist in Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
2022 YSPH Research Award: Team Science Award

YSPH professors Lauretta Grau, Xin Zhou, Donna Spiegelman, Linda Niccolai and Luke Davis co-authored the dissertation by EMD MD/PhD student and first author Tyler Shelby, entitled “Lessons learned from covid-19 contact tracing during a public health emergency: prospective implementation study” and published in Frontiers in Public Health. This article exemplified all the best of team science at YSPH, in that a team led by our PhD students, with support from faculty and staff with backgrounds in epidemiology, biostatistics, psychology and medicine, formed a partnership with our local public health leaders in New Haven to provide a rapid, rigorous and transparent evaluation of volunteer-driven COVID-19 contact tracing in New Haven at the beginning of the pandemic. A comprehensive set of recommendations was rapidly returned to the New Haven Health Department, and the findings were published online and widely disseminated.

Nathan Grubaugh, PhD

Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health
2022 YSPH Research Award: COVID-19 Award

Chantal Vogels (EMD) was co-lead author with Carolina Lucas, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale School of Medicine, and Inci Yildirim, MD, PhD, MSc, of YSM, and YSPH professors Albert Ko, Saad Omer, Nate Grubaugh and others co-authored the paper, “Impact of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants on mRNA vaccine-induced immunity,” which was published in Nature. This paper was another incredible collaboration between a team of students, postdocs, staff and faculty at YSPH and YSM. During the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. To enable early detection and experimental characterization of these variants, this team established the Yale SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Surveillance Initiative. They sequenced SARS-CoV-2 from clinical samples to identify variants and created virus stocks for experimental evaluation. To investigate potential differences in neutralizing antibody escape between the SARS-CoV-2 variants, they determined the neutralization capacity of plasma samples from vaccinated healthcare workers against a panel of 18 genetically distinct SARS-CoV-2 isolates. They revealed a range of reductions in the neutralization capacity associated with specific mutations in the spike gene. Their study was one of the first to point to vaccine boosters as a relevant future strategy to alleviate the effect of emerging variants on antibody neutralizing activity.

Albert Ko, MD

Raj and Indra Nooyi Professor of of Public Health and Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health 2022 YSPH Research Award: COVID-19 Award

Chantal Vogels (EMD) was co-lead author with Carolina Lucas, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale School of Medicine, and Inci Yildirim, MD, PhD, MSc, of YSM, and YSPH professors Albert Ko, Saad Omer, Nate Grubaugh and others co-authored the paper, “Impact of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants on mRNA vaccine-induced immunity,” which was published in Nature. This paper was another incredible collaboration between a team of students, postdocs, staff and faculty at YSPH and YSM. During the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. To enable early detection and experimental characterization of these variants, this team established the Yale SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Surveillance Initiative. They sequenced SARS-CoV-2 from clinical samples to identify variants and created virus stocks for experimental evaluation. To investigate potential differences in neutralizing antibody escape between the SARS-CoV-2 variants, they determined the neutralization capacity of plasma samples from vaccinated healthcare workers against a panel of 18 genetically distinct SARS-CoV-2 isolates. They revealed a range of reductions in the neutralization capacity associated with specific mutations in the spike gene. Their study was one of the first to point to vaccine boosters as a relevant future strategy to alleviate the effect of emerging variants on antibody neutralizing activity.

Becca Levy, PhD

Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences) and Psychology
Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health
2022 YSPH Research Award: Investigator Award

Becca Levy’s paper published in Journal of Gerontology, entitled “Impact of Media-based negative and positive age stereotypes on older individuals mental health,” focused on negative age stereotypes – one of the most robust forms of discrimination in our society and globally – on mental health. Negative age stereotypes have been further exacerbated during the pandemic. They found, as expected, the exposure of older individuals to the negative-age-stereotype-messaging interventions led to significantly worse mental health (more anxiety and less peacefulness), compared to a neutral condition; in contrast, the positive-age-stereotype-messaging interventions led to significantly better mental health (less anxiety and more peacefulness), compared to a neutral condition. This is the first-known study to experimentally demonstrate that institutional ageism can impact mental health. This team includes leaders at YSPH in aging and mental health. Becca has also written a newly published book, Breaking the Age Code.

Fan Li, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biostatistics
2022 YSPH Research Award: Early Career Investigator Award

Fan Li received this award for his paper published in Biometrics entitled “Sample size considerations for stepped wedge designs with subclusters.” The stepped wedge cluster randomized trial is an increasingly popular design for evaluating health service delivery or policy interventions. An essential consideration of this design is the need to account for both within-period and between-period correlations in sample size calculations. He and colleagues present computationally efficient sample size procedures that properly differentiate within-period and between-period intracluster correlation coefficients in stepped wedged trials.

Terika McCall, PhD, MPH, MBA

Assistant Professor of Biostatistics (Health Informatics)
2022 YSPH Research Award: Health Equity Research Award

Terika McCall’s paper, entitled “Development of a mobile app to support self-management of anxiety and depression in African American women: usability study,” was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (ranked as the top health informatics journal). African American women significantly underuse mental health services. The use of mobile apps offers the potential to eliminate or mitigate barriers for African American women who are seeking access to mental health services. Her study aimed to evaluate the usability of the prototype of an app designed for supporting the self-management of anxiety and depression in African American women, and provides a better understanding of user experience. Future work will include launching a study to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the app for use in studies and care.

Linda Niccolai, PhD

Interim Department Chair and Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health
Director, HPV Working Group at Yale
Director, CT Emerging Infections Program at Yale, Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases
2022 YSPH Research Award: Team Science Award

YSPH professors Linda Niccolai, Xin Zhou, Donna Spiegelman, Lauretta Grau and Luke Davis co-authored the dissertation by EMD MD/PhD student and first author Tyler Shelby, entitled “Lessons learned from covid-19 contact tracing during a public health emergency: prospective implementation study” and published in Frontiers in Public Health. This article exemplified all the best of team science at YSPH, in that a team led by our PhD students, with support from faculty and staff with backgrounds in epidemiology, biostatistics, psychology and medicine, formed a partnership with our local public health leaders in New Haven to provide a rapid, rigorous and transparent evaluation of volunteer-driven COVID-19 contact tracing in New Haven at the beginning of the pandemic. A comprehensive set of recommendations was rapidly returned to the New Haven Health Department, and the findings were published online and widely disseminated.

Saad Omer, MBBH, MPH, PhD

Director, Yale Institute for Global Health
Associate Dean (Global Health Research), Yale School of Medicine
Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases), Yale School of Medicine
Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health
2022 YSPH Research Award: COVID-19 Award

Chantal Vogels (EMD) was co-lead author with Carolina Lucas, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale School of Medicine, and Inci Yildirim, MD, PhD, MSc, of YSM, and YSPH professors Albert Ko, Saad Omer, Nate Grubaugh and others co-authored the paper, “Impact of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants on mRNA vaccine-induced immunity,” which was published in Nature. This paper was also another incredible collaboration between a team of students, postdocs, staff and faculty at YSPH and YSM. During the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. To enable early detection and experimental characterization of these variants, this team established the Yale SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Surveillance Initiative. They sequenced SARS-CoV-2 from clinical samples to identify variants and created virus stocks for experimental evaluation. To investigate potential differences in neutralizing antibody escape between the SARS-CoV-2 variants, they determined the neutralization capacity of plasma samples from vaccinated healthcare workers against a panel of 18 genetically distinct SARS-CoV-2 isolates. They revealed a range of reductions in the neutralization capacity associated with specific mutations in the spike gene. Their study was one of the first to point to vaccine boosters as a relevant future strategy to alleviate the effect of emerging variants on antibody neutralizing activity.

A. David Paltiel, MBA, PhD

Professor of Public Health (Health Policy), Professor of Management and Professor in the Institution for Social and Policy Studies
Co-director, Public Health Modeling Concentration
Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health
2022 YSPH Research Award: COVID-19 Research Award

David Paltiel and Jason Schwartz published “Assessing COVID-19 prevention strategies to permit the safe opening of residential colleges in Fall 2021” in the in Annals of Internal Medicine. This paper addressed COVID safety on college campuses for the Fall 2021 semester in the context of vaccines, variants and the experience of 2020. They found that the level of vaccination coverage on campus was far and away the single most powerful determinant of campus safety. Schools that could achieve high vaccination rates (> 90%) might safely return to normality with little or no additional distancing or testing. Importantly, the paper includes a companion decision support tool, which can be download from the journal website. This user-friendly support tool has been downloaded thousands of times and used by hundreds of colleges (including Yale) to tailor the analysis to their specific circumstances.

Sunil Parikh, MD, MPH

Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Infectious Diseases
2022 YSPH Research Award: Team Science Award

Sunil Parikh and fellow faculty members Amy Bei, Dan Weinberger and Josh Warren were co-authors of a paper first-authored by YSPH EMD Ph.D. student Hanna Ehrlich as part of her dissertation and published in PNAS, entitled “Mapping partner drug resistance to guide anti-malarial combination therapy policies in sub-saharan Africa.” This research project filled an important gap in the malaria literature at a time in which drug resistance is threatening the only available antimalarials on the market. The team’s work led to the creation of the first spatiotemporal map of drug resistance evolution and spread in two key mutations over the approximately 15-year deployment of these drugs. Also, the team explored variables that predict changes in drug-resistance prevalence and utilized statistical models to identify potential areas where drug resistance surveillance may be better targeted.

Yusuf Ransome, MPH, DrPH

Assistant Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences)
2022 YSPH Research Award: Health Equity Research Award

Yusuf Ransome authored “Neighborhood social cohesion and inequalities in covid-19 diagnosis rates by area-level black/African American racial composition,” which was published in the Journal of Urban Health. This study is innovative and profound, as it sheds light on COVID-related disparities to Black people. Black people have been disproportionately impacted by COVID, and very little is published on what exactly is contributing to such disparities and how neighborhood composition can play a significant role in outcomes. This study is very timely, as it is essential for public health research to go beyond individual-level characteristics and engage in social and environmental justice work that can strengthen Black communities and improve health outcomes overall.

Jason Schwartz, PhD

Associate Professor of Public Health (Health Policy)
Associate Professor in the History of Medicine and Associate Professor in the Institution for Social and Policy Studies
Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health
2022 YSPH Research Award: COVID-19 Research Award

David Paltiel and Jason Schwartz published “Assessing COVID-19 prevention strategies to permit the safe opening of residential colleges in Fall 2021” in the in Annals of Internal Medicine. This paper addressed COVID safety on college campuses for the Fall 2021 semester in the context of vaccines, variants and the experience of 2020. They found that the level of vaccination coverage on campus was far and away the single most powerful determinant of campus safety. Schools that could achieve high vaccination rates (> 90%) might safely return to normality with little or no additional distancing or testing. Importantly, the paper includes a companion decision support tool, which can be download from the journal website. This user-friendly support tool has been downloaded thousands of times and used by hundreds of colleges (including Yale) to tailor the analysis to their specific circumstances.

Tyler Shelby

MD/PhD Candidate, Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)

As his dissertation, EMD M.D./Ph.D. student Tyler Shelby first-authored “Lessons learned from covid-19 contact tracing during a public health emergency: prospective implementation study,” which was published in Frontiers in Public Health. YSPH professors Luke Davis, Xin Zhou, Donna Spiegelman, Lauretta Grau and Linda Niccolai were co-authors. This article exemplified all the best of team science at YSPH, in that a team led by our Ph.D. students, with support from faculty and staff with backgrounds in epidemiology, biostatistics, psychology and medicine, formed a partnership with our local public health leaders in New Haven to provide a rapid, rigorous and transparent evaluation of volunteer-driven COVID-19 contact tracing in New Haven at the beginning of the pandemic. A comprehensive set of recommendations was rapidly returned to the New Haven Health Department, and the findings were published online and widely disseminated.

Donna Spiegelman, PhD

Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Biostatistics
Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health
Director, Center for Methods in Implemental Science (CMIPS)
2022 YSPH Research Award: Team Science Award

YSPH professors Donna Spiegelman, Xin Zhou, Lauretta Grau, Linda Niccolai and Luke Davis co-authored the dissertation by EMD M.D./Ph.D. student and first author Tyler Shelby, entitled “Lessons learned from covid-19 contact tracing during a public health emergency: prospective implementation study” and published in Frontiers in Public Health. This article exemplified all the best of team science at YSPH, in that a team led by our Ph.D. students, with support from faculty and staff with backgrounds in epidemiology, biostatistics, psychology and medicine, formed a partnership with our local public health leaders in New Haven to provide a rapid, rigorous and transparent evaluation of volunteer-driven COVID-19 contact tracing in New Haven at the beginning of the pandemic. A comprehensive set of recommendations was rapidly returned to the New Haven Health Department, and the findings were published online and widely disseminated.

Chantal Vogels, PhD, MSc, BSc

Associate Research Scientist in Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
Affiliate Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health
2022 YSPH Research Award: COVID-19 Award

Chantal Vogels (EMD) was co-lead author with Carolina Lucas, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale School of Medicine, and Inci Yildirim, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc., of YSM, and YSPH professors Albert Ko, Saad Omer, Nate Grubaugh and others co-authored the paper, “Impact of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants on mRNA vaccine-induced immunity,” which was published in Nature. This paper was another incredible collaboration between a team of students, postdocs, staff and faculty at YSPH and YSM. During the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. To enable early detection and experimental characterization of these variants, this team established the Yale SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Surveillance Initiative. They sequenced SARS-CoV-2 from clinical samples to identify variants and created virus stocks for experimental evaluation. To investigate potential differences in neutralizing antibody escape between the SARS-CoV-2 variants, they determined the neutralization capacity of plasma samples from vaccinated healthcare workers against a panel of 18 genetically distinct SARS-CoV-2 isolates. They revealed a range of reductions in the neutralization capacity associated with specific mutations in the spike gene. Their study was one of the first to point to vaccine boosters as a relevant future strategy to alleviate the effect of emerging variants on antibody neutralizing activity.

Joshua Warren, PhD

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
2022 YSPH Research Award: Team Science Award

Josh Warren and fellow faculty members Amy Bei, Dan Weinberger and Sunil Parikh were co-authors of a paper first-authored by YSPH EMD Ph.D. student Hanna Ehrlich as part of her dissertation and published in PNAS, entitled “Mapping partner drug resistance to guide anti-malarial combination therapy policies in sub-saharan Africa.” This research project filled an important gap in the malaria literature at a time in which drug resistance is threatening the only available antimalarials on the market. The team’s work led to the creation of the first spatiotemporal map of drug resistance evolution and spread in two key mutations over the approximately 15-year deployment of these drugs. Also, the team explored variables that predict changes in drug-resistance prevalence and utilized statistical models to identify potential areas where drug resistance surveillance may be better targeted.

Daniel Weinberger, PhD

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health
2022 YSPH Research Award: Team Science Award

Dan Weinberger and fellow faculty members Amy Bei, Josh Warren and Sunil Parikh were co-authors of a paper first-authored by YSPH EMD Ph.D. student Hanna Ehrlich as part of her dissertation and published in PNAS, entitled “Mapping partner drug resistance to guide anti-malarial combination therapy policies in sub-saharan Africa.” This research project filled an important gap in the malaria literature at a time in which drug resistance is threatening the only available antimalarials on the market. The team’s work led to the creation of the first spatiotemporal map of drug resistance evolution and spread in two key mutations over the approximately 15-year deployment of these drugs. Also, the team explored variables that predict changes in drug-resistance prevalence and utilized statistical models to identify potential areas where drug resistance surveillance may be better targeted.

Xin Zhou, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biostatistics
2022 YSPH Research Award: Team Science Award

YSPH professors Xin Zhou, Donna Spiegelman, Lauretta Grau, Linda Niccolai and Luke Davis co-authored the dissertation by EMD M.D./Ph.D. student and first author Tyler Shelby, entitled “Lessons learned from covid-19 contact tracing during a public health emergency: prospective implementation study” and published in Frontiers in Public Health. This article exemplified all the best of team science at YSPH, in that a team led by our Ph.D. students, with support from faculty and staff with backgrounds in epidemiology, biostatistics, psychology and medicine, formed a partnership with our local public health leaders in New Haven to provide a rapid, rigorous and transparent evaluation of volunteer-driven COVID-19 contact tracing in New Haven at the beginning of the pandemic. A comprehensive set of recommendations was rapidly returned to the New Haven Health Department, and the findings were published online and widely disseminated.

Past Awards

  • 2021 Research Awards

    Early Career Investigator Awards

    Abby Friedman: “Smoking to cope: Addictive behavior as a response to mental distress” published in Journal of Health Economics.

    Krystal Pollitt: “The Fresh Air Wristband: A Wearable Air Pollutant Sampler” published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

    Covid Research Award
    Anne Wyllie: “Saliva or Nasopharyngeal Swab Specimens for Detection of SARS-CoV-2” published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
    Team Science Award

    Jacob Wallace, Chima Ndumele, and Anthony Lollo: “Comparison of Office-Based Physician Participation in Medicaid Managed Care and Health Insurance Exchange Plans in the Same US Geographic Markets” published in JAMA Network Open.

    Investigator Award

    Dan Weinberger: “Estimation of Excess Deaths Associated With the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States, March to May 2020”, published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

  • 2020 Research Awards

    Early Career Investigator Award
    Nathan Grubaugh: "Travel surveillance and genomics uncover a Hidden Zika Outbreak during the waning epidemic" published in Cellpress.
    Science Prize
    Albert Ko: "Impact of preexisting dengue immunity on Zika virus emergence in a dengue endemic region" published in Science.
    Investigator Awards

    Hongyu Zhao: "A statistical framework for cross-tissue transcriptome-wide association analysis" published in Nature Genetics.

    Zack Cooper: "The price ain't right? Hospital prices and health spending on the privately insured" published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the President and Fellows of Harvard College.