In the Lantagne Group, we conduct laboratory, field, and policy implementation-based research to reduce the burden of infectious diseases.
In our laboratory work, we test the efficacy of WASH interventions in removing the protozoa, bacteria, and viruses that cause infectious disease. We have completed work on: chlorine efficacy in water and surfaces; ceramic water filter manufacturing and efficacy; disinfection of surfaces and hands for cholera prevention using V. cholerae, and for Ebola and COVID-19 using bacteriophage surrogates; methods to grow, test, and image biofilms to determine efficacy of storage container cleaning recommendations; and more fundamental research questions working with non-global health collaborators, for example on transport through silver-impregnated clay porous media, membrane fouling, or with the NEIDL at BU on SARS-CoV-2 testing. Our laboratory work is conducted in the Environmental Sustainability Lab.
The most valuable lessons for design and effective use come from working directly with users. Working in the field, we conduct household surveys, key informant interviews, site assessments, focus group discussions, water quality and surface testing, spatial analysis, and cost analysis. All our research is completed with approval from Tufts and local ethical review boards. Additionally, we have done similar work remotely, such as with UNICEF in Syria, which led to direct programmatic improvements that improved access to safe drinking water during the conflict. In particular, my group has refined and completed mixed-methods, multi-country evaluations to fill gaps in humanitarian evidence. I was invited to submit a manuscript on humanitarian research by the Fogarty Center of NIH. I play a key role in shaping research priorities and funding for humanitarian response as a member of technical advisory committees (e.g. Fogarty Center Humanitarian Research Conference Planning Board; Humanitarian Innovation Fund Technical Working Group; Wellcome Trust Cholera Research Advisory Board; WASH Cluster Research Technical Working Group (lead); WHO Global Development Guidance Group for COVID-19 Infection, Prevention, and Control; Coalition against Typhoid). As more researchers enter this space, and more donors seek to fund in this space, I anticipate growing this leadership role.
In our policy work, we summarize information for, and train, decision-makers on how to implement evidence-based policy. We have conducted systematic reviews of the evidence, developed appropriate dissemination materials, evaluated recommendations, and worked directly with governments and agencies to implement recommendations. We have provided technical support to the Haitian government to test, regulate, and evaluate water treatment products; developed production standards for locally-manufactured ceramic water filters; provided technical support and evaluation to the Global WASH Cluster; and have a pending grant to station a researcher full time at the Global WASH Cluster at UNICEF in Geneva to create a direct link between research and implementation.
Our work is supported by a diverse array of funders, including governmental agencies (Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance / Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), UN agencies (UNICEF, World Health Organization), international NGOs (Solidarités International, Oxfam, PATH), and humanitarian and other donors (Humanitarian Innovation Fund, Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Humanitarian Evidence Programme, 3ie).