NIAID will hold the Franklin A. Neva Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10. Dr. Héctor H. García will present “Diagnosis and Management of Neurocysticercosis—What Has Changed in a Century?”
García has a long history in global health research and training, including the successful direction of a 10-year Cysticercosis Elimination Program in Northern Coastal Peru, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He leads the cysticercosis working group in Peru, a multi-institutional group that offers hands-on training in global health research to local scientists and health professionals.
The lecture will focus on neurocysticercosis, a preventable parasitic infection of the central nervous system caused by the pork tapeworm Taenia solium. The disease mainly affects rural farming communities, where families engage in community farming practices, raise free-roaming pigs and where individuals who ingest infected pork end up carrying the infective tapeworms. Diagnosing neurocysticercosis requires brain imaging with either computed tomography or magnetic resonance scans and treatment can be time-consuming and costly, both of which pose significant challenges in rural communities. Management of neurocysticercosis should address control and elimination of T. solium throughout its lifecycle between pigs and humans.
García is director of the Center for Global Health–Tumbes and professor in the department of microbiology at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. He also serves as head of the cysticercosis unit at the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Neurologicas in Lima, Peru. He earned his Ph.D. in 2002 from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and his M.D. in 1989 from the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima. He is a senior international research fellow of The Wellcome Trust, U.K., and was awarded the Christophe and Rodolphe Merieux Prix from the Merieux Foundation and the Institut de France in 2011.
The lecture series honors Neva, a noted virologist, parasitologist and clinician and former chief of NIAID’s Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases who died in 2011.