My research asks questions about what shapes patterns of infectious diseases and the responses to them. Central to my work is how scientific research, commercial interest, health needs, and government policies interact to contour who experiences particular diseases, why, and how. My latest research for example looks at collaborations involved in what I am calling humanitarian pharmaceutical production – that is, nonprofit organizations, university researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and funding agencies researching new tuberculosis drugs and vaccines for the first time in several decades. What scientific, ethical, and regulatory innovations are emerging from these collaborations, and what constitutes the opportunities and challenges of producing new therapies outside of typical profit-making incentives, form key questions of this work. Compound Solutions: Pharmaceutical Alternatives for Global Health (University of Minnesota Press 2017) is the outcome of this research.
With my colleague Tamara Giles-Vernick, I've also looked at responses historically and currently to outbreaks of influenza, including controversies over global and national reactions to the recent H1N1 pandemic. Key points here were the variations in government response, the direct association between global inequality and vaccine access, evolving definitions of pandemic, and the growth of surveillance mechanisms for early detection. Before this, I examined the policies restricting availabilities of ARVs for the majority of people living with AIDS, a project that brought science, commerce, and suffering into direct conflict. In a related project I researched the politics of AIDS vaccine research, namely the design of clinical trials and the focus on developing vaccines against strains of HIV that primarily affect those in high income, not low income, countries.