Justin Lana

Lana
The funding allows us to do important research in a setting where it is needed, but also the way it is set up—with undergrads, master’s students, and doctoral students, along with staff and faculty, collaborating together—really works.

Degree

Ph.D. in Environment

Project Team

This is my second year with the project, and third summer conducting research in Peru. Last summer I joined the team in Madre de Dios, where I spent a lot of time planning my own research for this year. The work of this year’s team is a natural extension of the research I’m doing for my PhD professor Bill Pan. He is my advisor and the project leader.

There are some real perks to being a member of a Bass Connections team. Certainly the funding allows us to do important research in a setting where it is needed, but also the way it is set up—with undergrads, master’s students, and doctoral students, along with staff and faculty, collaborating together—really works. Plus, there are already established networks here, so I don’t have to do everything on my own.

Peruvian people are absolutely wonderful. As soon as people understand that we have a genuine interest in the health of their communities, they’re more than willing to assist us with our work. Our partnerships with the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and the Ministry of Health have been so important to our success. This is something we do not take for granted. We always have a Peruvian partner on our research projects and papers, which not only gives strength to our collaborations, but also embodies what global health is all about. In working with the Ministry of Health, I emphasize with them that my data is their data. After all, we are doing the research in order for all of us to learn how best to address the many health challenges in the region.

I would like to develop a stand-alone research project on cutaneous leishmaniasis. This summer, I hope to locate and interview 130 individuals who have presented with leishmaniasis in the past two years and 260 control subjects. Four hundred interviews in 50 days will be tough, but not impossible. Following the case-control study, we will have the appropriate amount of data to determine the next steps in our research plan.