Nancy Saravia, PhD, MSc

Professor Adjunct of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)

Departments & Organizations

School of Public Health: Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases


Nancy Gore Saravia, MSc, PhD is the Scientific Director of the Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Médicas (CIDEIM) in Cali, Colombia. Her career focus is the Immunobiology of Infectious Disease and Research Capacity and Institutional Development based on interdisciplinary investigation in tropical infectious disease.    Her research has primarily been devoted to understanding the host-Leishmania relationship in the endemic context, from the natural history of infection and disease in affected human populations to the parasites, host cells and effector molecules involved as well as pharmacokinetic studies and clinical trials of anti-leishmanial drugs.  These studies documented the epidemiologic importance of asymptomatic infection, reactivation of disease, and re-infection in endemic foci and identified patient populations that are clinically susceptible to chronic and recurrent leishmaniasis. These studies also revealed an association between clinical susceptibility (chronic and recurrent disease) and infection and survival of Leishmania in the corresponding patient macrophages, the bases of which may also be linked to the outcome of treatment.    

The scope of her ongoing research includes use of mHealth tools and rapid diagnostics to overcome barriers to access to treatment, the contribution of parasite drug resistance and host innate responses to therapeutic response, and biomarkers of therapeutic outcome. 

Dr. Saravia has collaborated with Yale faculty in the School of Public Health and School of Medicine since 2003 in the development and conduct of research and training US NIH supported R01, ICIDR and Fogarty Global Infectious Disease Research Training program grants.   CIDEIM is a WHO Collaborating Center in Leishmaniasis, and the Latin American Research Training Center supported by the WHO Special Program for Tropical Disease Research.  Several Yale Downs Fellows have been hosted by CIDEIM and a Howard Hughes scholar from Yale School of Medicine and a Whittaker Fellow from the School of Engineering have conducted research training in CIDEIM.

Education & Training

PhD Vanderbilt University (1978)
MSc Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Pathology and Environmental Health (1972)
Post-Doc University of Wisconsin, Madison

Honors & Recognition

  • Moselio Schaechter Distinguished Service AwardAmerican Society for Microbiology (2013)

  • Ben Kean MedalAmerican Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2013)

  • Scopus Award for publication citation record (2009)

  • Alejandro Angel Escobar Colombian national prize for Scientific Merit (1994)

  • Bailey K. Ashford Medal for distinguished work in Tropical MedicineAmerican Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (1993)

  • Jose Celestino Mutis Medal for contributions to the improvement of medical science and healthMinistry of Health of Colombia. (1993)

Professional Service

  • WHO (2009 - 2018) Member of the WHO Expert Advisory Committee on Parasitic Diseases (Leishmaniasis), WHO, Geneva

  • Centro Dermatologico Federico Lleras Empresa Social del Estado, Bogota (2007 - 2014) Member Board of Directors, Centro Dermatologico Federico Lleras Empresa Social del Estado, Bogota. Designated Representative of COLCIENCIAS

  • Tropical and Clinical Immunology and Infectious Disease Funding Committee (2005 - 2006) Member Tropical and Clinical Immunology and Infectious Disease Funding Committee. The Wellcome Trust London, UK

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