Diane McMahon-Pratt, PhD

Professor Emeritus of Public Health

Departments & Organizations

School of Public Health: Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases | YSPH Global Health Concentration

Yale Institute for Global Health

Global Health Studies

Office of Cooperative Research


The research in Professor McMahon-Pratt's laboratory is concerned with the parasitic protozoan, Leishmania, which causes a spectrum of diseases known as leishmaniasis. The laboratory is interested in understanding the immune effector mechanisms in the mammalian host that are involved in the control of infection and/or pathogenesis, with the aim to developing a vaccine against leishmaniasis. The laboratory has defined target vaccine candidate molecules and is collaborating with the University of Iowa and Cambridge University in a project directed toward the development of a multi-subunit vaccine. In addition, we have collaborated with Dr. Tarek Fahmy (Yale Bioengineering) in the development of nanoparticle therapeutic treatment delivery system for leishmaniasis. In other studies, the laboratory also collaborates Drs. Al Bothwell and Eddie Chae (Immunobiology) investigating the role of DKK-1 in the regulation of the innate and T cell responses to Leishmania infection. We have long-term collaboration with scientists in Colombia. Currently, Professor McMahon-Pratt is director of NIAID R01 and Fogarty (NIH)-sponsored Programs with Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Médicas (CIDEIM) in Colombia. These programs are focused on understanding the pathology of leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania (Viannia), which predominates in South America, with the objective of designing immunological approaches for treatment and control.

Education & Training

PhD Harvard University, Immunology (1978)
BS University of Southern California, Chemistry (1969)
Post-Doctoral Fellow Harvard Medical School

Honors & Recognition

  • Elected Member Connecticut Academy of Science and EngineeringConnecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (2016)

  • Burroughs-Welccome Lecturer, NIH Laboratory of Parasitic Diseasea (1994)

  • Bailey K. Ashford Medal, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (1993)

  • Councilor, American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (1993, 1997)

  • Organizer, Gordon Conference on Biological Aspects of Parasitism (1991, 1993)

Professional Service

  • World LEISH 6 (2015 - 2017) International meeting on leishmaniasis - Organizing Committee

  • International Health Committee (2009 - 2011)

  • Editorial Board, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (2008 - 2016)

  • Co-Organizer, International Conference on post-genomic research strategies for the development of vaccines and drugs against leishmaniasis. (2006 - 2007) Co-organizer (with Drs. J. Blackwell (Cambridge University), Paul Kaye (University of York) and Mary Wilson (University of Iowa)). International Conference on post-genomic research strategies for the development of vaccines and drugs against leishmaniasis. Cotswalds, England. September, 2007.

  • WorldLeish3 –Italy, April, 2005: Organizing Committee (2004 - 2005)

  • WHO/T.D.R. Review of Leishmaniasis Program (2004 - Present)

  • NIH - Microbiology and Infectious Disease Research Study Section Member (2001 - 2005)

  • Member, Program Committee, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2001 - 2015)

  • Yale University School of Medicine: Senior Faculty Allotment Committee (2001 - 2004)

  • Review Panel, Howard Hughes, International Infectious Disease Program (2000)

  • Editorial Board, American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (1999 - 2016)

  • Appointments and Promotions Committee, Yale University School of Medicine (1998 - 2000)

  • Editorial Board, Memorias Oswaldo Cruz (1993 - 2004)

  • Organizer, W.H.O. Workshop, December 1993, Identification and diagnosis of Leishmania species. Cali, Colombia. (1992 - 1993)

  • World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization, Workshop Organizer. Washington, D.C (1991 - 1992) Coordinator

  • Served as a reviewer for grant applications to the National Science Foundation, Canadian Research Foundation, Veterans Administration and World Health Organization and US Army Research, Wellcome Trust (England) (1990 - Present)

  • NIH Study Section member - Tropical Medicine and Parasitology (1988 - 1992)

  • International Health Committee (Downs Fellowship) (1988 - 1994)

  • Provost’s Appointments and Promotions Committee of EPH


  • Improved Treatment of American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis by Immunomodulation Colombia (2011 - 2015)

    This application is a collaborative project with Dr. N. Saravia at CIDEIM (Colombia) which is focused on the development of immunomodulatory therapy for cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania (Viannia). The murine model of chronic disease is being used to interrogate new approaches for...

  • Vector/Host-Parasite Interface of Leishmaniasis in Colombia Cali, Colombia (2004 - 2018)

    The goal of the training grant is to build research capacity to identify strategies and devise means to interrupt the cycle of transmission and pathogenesis of leishmaniasis through intervention of the invertebrate and vertebrate host pathogen interactions. To achieve this goal, the training...

  • Immunology and epidemiology of leishmaniasis Cali, Colombia (1985 - 2017)

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Contact Info

Diane McMahon-Pratt, PhD
Mailing Addresses
PO Box 208034
60 College Street- LEPH 811

New Haven, CT 06520-8034
14 James Street
Williamstown, VIC 3016

Curriculum Vitae