Nira Pollock, MD, PhD, is currently an instructor of medicine and infectious diseases (ID) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). The candidate's long-term goal is to develop an independent patient- oriented research career focused on the development and evaluation of new diagnostic tests for infectious diseases. Dr. Pollock's interest in diagnostics emerged from her strong combined basic science and clinical training and was focused by her ID specialization. Recognizing the rise of global tuberculosis (TB) case rates in the era of HIV and the limitations placed on TB control efforts by the weaknesses of currently available TB diagnostics, the candidate has chosen to focus her research and clinical efforts on TB. Under the guidance of two senior Harvard-affiliated TB researchers, Dr. Antonio Campos-Neto and Dr. Edward Nardell, she has initiated a promising TB diagnostic development project and has prepared a multi- disciplinary career development plan which will allow her to develop into an independent translational researcher with an exceptionally strong grounding in both ID and clinical microbiology. For her project, Dr. Pollock will work to develop a new urine antigen detection test for diagnosis of active TB disease. Her goal is to create a fully non-invasive, point-of-care, rapid test which would be useful in resource-limited settings, thereby making a substantial contribution to patient care and TB control. After completing pre-clinical development, she will evaluate the new test by integrating testing into an established clinical study of TB in Peru, run by Partners in Health. This will allow her to assess test performance for routine diagnosis of active pulmonary TB in adults, as well as to gain preliminary data about test utility for diagnosis of TB in children and for monitoring treatment efficacy. Dr. Pollock will combine her research program with a structured, comprehensive didactic curriculum in clinical research methodology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Finally, she will continue to develop her expertise in clinical microbiology through further practical experience in the BIDMC microbiology laboratory, recognizing that the clinical microbiology laboratory provides an ideal setting for applied infectious diseases diagnostics research.

Public Health Relevance

The goal of this project is to develop a new, rapid, simple, and highly accurate urine test for diagnosis of active tuberculosis (TB). This test could dramatically change how TB is diagnosed world-wide, and thus could help prevent the spread of this highly contagious and often deadly disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
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Jacobs, Gail G
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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
United States
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Pollock, Nira R; Macovei, Lilia; Kanunfre, Kelly et al. (2013) Validation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Rv1681 protein as a diagnostic marker of active pulmonary tuberculosis. J Clin Microbiol 51:1367-73
Pollock, Nira R; McGray, Sarah; Colby, Donn J et al. (2013) Field evaluation of a prototype paper-based point-of-care fingerstick transaminase test. PLoS One 8:e75616
Pollock, Nira R; Colby, Donn; Rolland, Jason P (2013) A point-of-care paper-based fingerstick transaminase test: toward low-cost "lab-on-a-chip" technology for the developing world. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 11:478-82
Cao, Qingqing; Mahalanabis, Madhumita; Chang, Jessie et al. (2012) Microfluidic chip for molecular amplification of influenza A RNA in human respiratory specimens. PLoS One 7:e33176
Pollock, Nira R; Duong, Scott; Cheng, Annie et al. (2009) Ruling out novel H1N1 influenza virus infection with direct fluorescent antigen testing. Clin Infect Dis 49:e66-8