From June to July 2009, Reem Alamiri, '08 graduate of UVa in Environmental Thought and Practice and candidate of the new five-year MPP Program, was the first Panama Initiative Fellow. She spent a month at the Galeta Marine Laboratory station, researching municipal solid waste management in the area and helping out with the station's educational mission.
She came to U. Va. in 2008 to learn new diagnostic tests for intestinal pathogens. The hope is to understand more about the causes of malnutrition and of diarrhea in the poor rural community of Santa Fe.
Elizabeth spent 3.5 weeks at the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies in Panama City in the summer of 2010. As a Panama Initiative fellow, she helped with data analysis and researched ecological and human factors in the transmission of Chagas disease.
During her summer 2010 internship at the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies in Panama City, Elena assisted in research on diarrheal diseases and malnutrition in children under the age of five in the District of Cañazas, a very poor rural area in the Veraguas Province with unchlorinated drinking water. Working with Vanessa Pineda, she used genetic testing to detect Enteroaggregative Escherichia Coli (EAEC), which is an emerging pathogen linked to acute and persistent diarrhea in multiple settings. Intestinal colonization with EAEC is believed to be associated with malnutrition in infants due to malabsorption as a result of persistent intestinal inflammation and intestinal mucosal damage.