Michael Mina

img_4491Graduate student, MD/PhD

I study the complexities and dynamics that drive or prevent infectious diseases through a combination of clinical and laboratory studies and mathematical modeling. My major focus centers around long-term immunologic effects of measles on immune-memory homeostasis and immune repertoire diversity. In particular, I am interested in how a short term infection with measles perturbs the long-term immune memory pool, thus altering long-term susceptibility to other infectious diseases.

I am also particularly interested in unintended effects of vaccinations on individuals and populations towards non-vaccine target infectious diseases. For instance, by reducing measles across the global population, measles vaccinations not only reduce measles infections, but I find also have played a large part in reducing susceptibility and deaths due perhaps to all other infectious diseases. A slightly different but related area of research, I have found that live attenuated influenza vaccines enhance nasopharyngeal carriage of pathogenic bacteria (S. pneumoniae and S. aureus). At the individual level, the vaccine alters growth dynamics of the bacterial pathogens, and, because these alterations may well enhance bacterial transmission in a density dependent fashion, the live influenza vaccine may effect unrelated bacterial pathogens at the population level as well. I think of this as an extension of the vaccine herd effect, allowing herd effects of vaccines to impact non-vaccine targeted pathogen dynamics amongst unvaccinated individuals.