Global Health Fellow, Duke University beginning July, 2012
Fellowship Site: Ruhuna University, Sri Lanka
Research Interests: Febrile illness, the emergence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens in Galle, Sri Lanka, and the validation of a new whole blood-based mRNA test that distinguishes respiratory viral infections from bacterial infections and healthy controls.
Having spent 8 months of her Duke medical school overseas, Dr. Tillekeratne has a substantial demonstrated commitment to global health research. Her project in the etiologies of undifferentiated febrile illness in rural Sri Lanka is an ambitious part of a long-term research project and commitment to work in Sri Lanka. Dr. Tillekeratne’s fascination with the impact of disease in the developing setting began in medical school, and she has followed this fascination through a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. As a Global Health Fellow at Duke and a Fogarty Fellow, she will build upon prior work performed between Duke University and Ruhuna University. Through this fellowship Dr. Tillekeratne hopes to contribute to a research program that will further elucidate causes of febrile illness in rural Sri Lanka. By improving diagnostic laboratory capacity and determining the etiologies of febrile illness, the program aims to develop clinical algorithms for treating patients presenting with fever. In addition to improving clinical outcomes, such work aims to reduce unnecessary and inappropriate antibiotic use, and limit the emergence of multidrug-resistant organisms.