Distinguished Research Professor 2012
Christopher Whalen, the Earnest Corn Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, is widely recognized as a leading expert on the epidemiology of tuberculosis and its interaction with HIV infection. For over 20 years, he has conducted his field research in Uganda, where both tuberculosis and HIV epidemics are at their greatest intensity. Whalen and his colleagues have demonstrated that tuberculosis may make HIV infection worse, even when the tuberculosis is cured. He showed that AIDS and death were more likely to occur after contracting tuberculosis. His work also led to the landmark discovery that isoniazid, a drug used to treat tuberculosis infections, could prevent tuberculosis in patients with HIV. Whalen has also studied extensively the transmission of tuberculosis in African households, where the disease is often spread. His recent research is focused on designing the optimal control of tuberculosis in Africa by understanding the transmission patterns of M. tuberculosis in African urban community networks.