Dr. Inshan Ali Advances Arbovirus Research in New Study

Apr 10, 2023

This Professor Is Combating Caribbean Arboviruses Dr. Inshan Ali’s Latest Research Tackles Insect-Born Diseases

When it comes to studying complex diseases, Dr. Inshan Ali thinks both as a doctor and a researcher. “I am a medical doctor by training, and my specialty is Medical Microbiology,” he says. The 10-plus-year veteran of the field is a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Microbiology D(ABMM) as well as a Diplomate of the Royal College of Pathologists (DipRCPath) in the United Kingdom. He is also a current master’s candidate in Barry’s Clinical Biology program, specializing in Laboratory Management, a focus Ali says “aptly compliments my clinical acumen.” 

Eager to expand his research pursuits and advance his career in the academic arena, Ali entered Barry’s Clinical Biology program through the seamless BS-to-MS track, completing the bachelor’s component in December of 2021. Amid his graduate studies, which he will finish in summer of 2023, he was selected for adjunct professorship in the program, where he teaches Medical Microbiology. “I would say the breakthrough moment was being invited to apply for an adjunct faculty position at the university,” Ali says. “I embraced the opportunity to work for an institution whose core commitments align very closely to my personal principles.”  

Those core commitments of Knowledge and Truth, Inclusion, Social Justice, and Collaborative Service are driving forces behind Ali’s research initiatives. For more than a year, he helmed an intensive report on insect-born illnesses affecting the Caribbean, a project motivated by his desire to find solutions to global health challenges and democratize access to important research on seldom-studied but growing disease risks. “While conducting other related research in the field, I discovered the need for an updated review of the arboviruses of the Caribbean that was easily accessible to researchers and students alike,” says Ali.  

As a prime tourism destination facing significant impacts of climate change, the Caribbean is susceptible to the emergence and resurgence of a diverse variety of arboviruses. Ali set out to review all existing data on the lesser-known of these insect-born diseases, enlisting the help of colleagues from five institutions in four countries. Together, Ali’s team identified 42 lesser-known arboviruses and examined the myriad factors that may contribute to their emergence or resurgence. The result of that research, a paper titled “The Others: A Systematic Review of the Lesser-Known Arboviruses of the Insular Caribbean,” was published in the peer-reviewed journal Viruses on March 25, 2023. In it, Ali and his colleagues look at the distribution of arboviruses among the Caribbean islands and argue for a holistic, One Health approach to researching and addressing arboviral threats.  

As a professor and master’s candidate in Barry’s Clinical Biology program, Ali feels as though he has found the community that will continue to support his career and research ambitions, which are as diverse as they are exciting. “I am currently collaborating on a project involving heartworm infections in canines as well as investigating human papilloma virus typing of cancer tissue specimens,” he says. It is with this exploratory spirit that he is forging his future. “Ultimately,” Ali says, “I want to continue along my path of nurturing my career in the realms of academia as well as clinical laboratory sciences and research.” 

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