Available GHREAT Mentors

Available GHREAT Mentors

Andrew Browne, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology

Location: Panama

Estimate Cost: $3000 per person

Dr. Browne conducts cross disciplinary basic and translational research drawing on his background in Electrical Engineering and Ophthalmology. His work focuses on a few core areas which have a significant amount of overlap. While his research is largely targeted to vision science, he remains open to conducting research pertinent to any living system.  Advanced Imaging Modalities for the developing world – Dr. Browne’s retina practice utilizes a variety of ophthalmic imaging technologies based on confocal laser scanning microscopes and photography. We are developing a new generation of portable tools with the goal to enable advanced imaging in the developing world.  This past summer he worked with a team of medical students who went to Panama to capture standard photography of the eye to screen for eye disease. In future years he hopes to implement increasingly more sophisticated tools (not more expensive) in this mission.The team partners with the NGO Floating Doctors who's mission is to reduce he present and future burden of disease in the developing world, and to promote improvements in health care delivery.  

Michele B Goodwin, JD

Chancellor’s Professor of Law, Director of the Center for Biotechnology & Global Health Policy

Location: Central and South America

Professor Goodwin's global health policy work spans organ, sex, child pornography, and marriage trafficking. Her work includes on the ground field research in India, the Philippines, South Africa, interviewing and documenting black market trading in the human body for sex and marriage. Her current project focuses on maternal health specifically focused on the criminalization of pregnant women in central and south America. She is one of the leading international voices on organ transplant policy and its global implications as well as one of the early writers about the social, medical, and legal tensions involving assisted reproductive technology. She is the President of Defense for Children International-US and Director of the Center for Global Health Policy at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.

Hillard Kaplan, PhD

Professor, Chapman University, School of Pharmacy, Economic Science Institute

Location: Bolivia

Potential projects include: 1) Diabetes Education, Prevention, and Management. This project could provide education, examine detection and treatment from a systems perspective (providers, patients, hospital supports), and evaluate effectiveness of the interventions. 1) Diabetes Education, Prevention, and Management. This project could provide education, examine detection and treatment from a systems perspective (providers, patients, hospital supports), and evaluate effectiveness of the interventions. 2) Cardiopulmonary testing. This project could assess the viability of our field-adapted bicycle protocol and perhaps compare age-matched Californians on a comparable protocol. 3) Tuberculosis detection and in community treatment; This project could pilot approaches to family and community based detection and supervised treatment (this may be the most challenging) 4) Reproductive Health: This project could look at strategies for reducing teen pregnancy or HPV (this would also require lots of development).

William Tang, PhD

Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Location: First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, Dalian, Liaoling Provence, China

Estimate Cost: Dependent on stay.  For more detail see below

Title: Rhythm and music-augmented physical therapies for people with Parkinson's disease.
Description: It has been shown that musical therapy improves neuronal connectivity of healthy persons and clinical symptoms of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and depression.
Despite the plethora of publications that have reported the positive effects of music interventions, little is known about how music improves neuronal activity and connectivity in afflicted patients. In this research, we will study the neurological changes in patients with Parkinson's disease before and after physical therapies augmented with music with strong rhythms. Daily training regimens with 35-minute session for 4 consecutive weeks will be administered to patients with stage 1 or 2 Parkinson's disease. Patients will be divided into three groups: (1) listen to the rhythmic music while sitting quietly, (2) walk on a treadmill with predefined speed, and (3) walk on a treadmill while listening to rhythmic music, pacing in synchrony with the beats. Brain activations with functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy(fNIR) and EEG will be recorded at baseline (before trainings), post-training, and 4 weeks after trainings are concluded (retention). These data will be compared to gait velocity, cadence, and stride length as well as the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) that will also be recorded during those three time points. Data analyses will be performed at UCI after the trip. The hypotheses this research is aiming at: (1) the effectiveness of physical therapy for patients with Parkinson's disease is enhanced by augmenting with auditory stimuli with rhythmic music more than physical therapy alone or listening to music alone. (2) The improvement is quantifiable with standard UPDRS and correlated with neuronal activations as measured with fNIR and EEG. 

*PREFERRED Fluency in Mandarin*

Location: The data collection will be performed at the First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, Dalian, Liaoling Provence, China, for a duration of 9 weeks. The retention tests can be done by the local collaborators if the students cannot stay for the full 9-week duration, which will reduce the time to 5 weeks.
Estimated cost: round-trip airfare ~$1200, lodging for 5 weeks ~ $2,000 (or $3.600 for 9 weeks), daily meals and misc expenses ~$800 (or $1,440 for 9 weeks) ==> total for 5 weeks = $4,000 or for 9 weeks = $6,240.


Krishnansu Tewari, MD

Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology

Location: Mwanza, Tanzania 

Estimate cost: $4500 per person

Cervical cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-associated mortality in women. Globally there are 500,000 new cases and 250,000 needless deaths each year. Because industrialized nations have the economic infrastructure to support cervical cancer screening programs through Papanicoloau testing (with and without high risk human papillomavirus testing) and prevention programs through HPV vaccination, incidence and mortality rates due to this disease have been on the decline for decades. Accordingly, developing countries such as those in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and southeast Asia (including India) have the highest disease burden. East Africa, particularly, continues to be ravaged relentlessly with thousands of relatively young women dying each year from cervical cancer. Through UC Irvine's Institute for Translational and Clinical Science and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, medical students have a unique opportunity to travel to East African nations including Tanzania and Zambia to assist in cervical cancer screening and prevention workshops on an annual basis. In addition to providing much-needed clinical support to the women of these countries, UC Irvine's Institutional Review Board and our partner medical ministries in East Africa have approved the following research objectives: 1. Collection of de-identified epidemiological data (including risk factors for cervical cancer that may be unique to the region) on women that participate in these screening workshops;2. Identification of the critical building blocks required to encourage patient follow-up/compliance with successive screening.; 3. Determination of the feasibility of on-the-ground training of health care providers living in Africa to sustain cervical cancer screening year-round (eg., every 3-4 months, not only during the annual UC Irvine workshop); 4. Impact of HPV vaccination in those regions in East Africa where it is being provided (eg., 14 year old females in the Mwanza district of Tanzania were offered vaccination beginning in April 2018); 5. Incidence/mortality rates and trends over time in areas where screening workshops are taking place; 6. Prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus infection and impact of antiretroviral treatment on cervical cancer screening among women participating in the workshops;7. Cost analyses in Tanzanian shillings and tracking with trends in Tanzanian Gross National Product and average annual income in a Tanzanian household. Participation in the cervical cancer screening workshop will require travel to East Africa and five to six days of immersion into the program. Upon return to the U.S. students will be expected to devote three hours to one of the objectives above to prepare an abstract for presentation at a scientific meeting, travel for abstract presentation. Ultimately a manuscript for each objective should be generated and that will require a minimum of an additional 20 hours. The entire process may take one year, and not every objective listed above is expected to generate reportable data every single year.

Guiyun Yan, PhD

Professor, Public Health

Location: Dependent on Student interest; field sites are available in Kenya and Ethiopia

Estimate Cost: $3500 per person

Malaria is a major public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. The East African highlands (1,500m above sea level) were either free of malaria or had very low incidences; however, since late 1980s malaria epidemics have frequently occurred in some highland areas. We examine the mechanisms leading to the resurgence of malaria in African high-elevation areas, including climate, land use, topography and antimalarial drug resistance in the Plasmodium parasites. We found that deforestation and swamp reclamation affect microclimatic and nutritional conditions of larval habitats, increase the survivorship of malaria vectors at larval and adult stages, shorten the development time of malaria parasites, and significantly increase mosquito vectorial capacity. We are developing models to predict the spread of malaria infections in an epidemic, and evaluating new malaria vector control methods for outdoor transmission control.