Scott Heysell, MD, Awarded $3.7 Million to Improve Treatment of Tuberculosis

January 4, 2024 by

Scott Heysell, MD, MPH

Scott Heysell, MD, MPH

Scott Heysell, MD, MPH, the Thomas H. Hunter Associate Professor of International Medicine and director of University of Virginia’s Center for Global Health Equity, was awarded a 5-year R01 grant renewal for more than $3.7 million from the NIH to improve treatment outcomes for children and adults with tuberculosis. Tuberculosis kills more people every year than any other infectious disease, and requires multiple antibiotics usually delivered in fixed dose combinations from crude weight bands. The UVA team has found that individual pharmacokinetic variability can lead to poor treatment outcomes despite dosing by weight, and that gut bacteria other than tuberculosis may be leading to poor absorption of the antibiotics.

Along with colleagues at the Haydom Global Health Research Centre in Tanzania and from Rutgers University’s Schools of Pharmacy, Engineering and Medicine, the UVA team will conduct a randomized control trial of personalized dosing with a urine test to achieve optimal pharmacokinetics among people starting treatment for tuberculosis in rural Tanzania, while determining the specific role of other gut pathogens in undernutrition, tuberculosis disease severity, and antibiotic malabsorption. Other key UVA faculty include Tania Thomas, MD (tuberculosis diagnostics), Margaret Kosek, MD (environmental enteropathy), Mark Conaway, PhD (biostatistics), and Tanzanian visiting research faculty, Estomih Mduma, PhD.

Read more about Dr. Heysell’s research.

Learn more about student-led research across Grounds at the Center for Global Health Equity.

Filed Under: Research