The challenges and opportunities in tuberculosis control, from Texas to Afghanistan
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Tuberculosis is one of the most ancient human pathogens. Very early in the history of humans, tuberculosis spread throughout the world and currently infects one third of the world’s population1. Tuberculosis, both as a pathogen and a disease state, is fascinating in its own right. Considering the global public health significance of tuberculosis, which infects one third of the world’s population and kills over 1.5 million people per year, tuberculosis remains a threat and demands further research. For these reasons, my undergraduate research has largely centered on tuberculosis. Chapter 1 gives a broad overview of tuberculosis, applicable but not specific to my research. Each subsequent chapter focuses on a research project, with relevant additional background on tuberculosis. Chapter 2 is based on an internship at the Texas Department of State Health Services analyzing reasons for delayed completion of tuberculosis therapy for patients whose therapy initiated in Texas in 2006. Chapter 3 examines the potential for molecular methods of tuberculosis in low-resource setting, building off of my experience using mutations in the rpoB gene as a surrogate marker of rifampin resistance in Afghanistan. Chapter 4 briefly expands upon further work done in the lab of Dr. Andrew Ellington at the University of Texas at Austin under the supervision of Xi Chen, developing non-enzymatic methods of nucleic acid detection to indicate the presence of tuberculosis and other pathogens.