Clark, Dussault advance public health scholarship at Institut Pasteur as inaugural Lady Mireille and Sir Dennis Gillings Global Public Health Fellows

December 12, 2023

Drs. Josée Dussault (left) and Jeliyah Clark (right)

Drs. Josée Dussault (left) and Jeliyah Clark (right)

Jeliyah Clark, PhD, and Josée Dussault, PhD, two alumnae from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, were recently selected as recipients of the Lady Mireille and Sir Dennis Gillings Global Public Health Fellowships.

The fellowships, a vision of Lady Mireille Gillings and conferred in partnership with the Pasteur Foundation U.S. and the Institut Pasteur, are awarded to two recent postdoctoral graduates from the University of Cambridge, the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and Concordia University in Montreal to support work at the France-based Institut Pasteur. Clark and Dussault traveled to Paris in early 2023, where they are currently advancing their skillsets and scholarship in public health and anticipate future training in business and finance that can help them become public health entrepreneurs.

“The fellowships are designed so that future leaders in public health, like Jeliyah and Josée, can build skills across what I call the 3Ms: management, money and medicine,” said Lady Mireille Gillings, “I am delighted that both of these students are already reaping these benefits as they gain international experience while showcasing the excellence of the University of North Carolina on the world stage.”

Clark graduated with a doctoral degree from the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in 2022 and will be working in the Systems Bioinformatics group within the Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Hub (the Hub).

“I am fortunate to be a member of the Hub, where I work on projects across various domains of bioinformatics. One of my projects explores changes in gene expression that occur in response to vaccine administration. In another, I am working with a software engineer to develop a Python package that biologists will use to visualize macromolecular systems—like the collection of genes comprising CRISPR-Cas9—in bacterial genomes,” Clark said. “Thanks to the fellowship, I’ll have the opportunity to merge my training in data science with business courses. My doctoral training and primary research interests still lie in environmental health, especially understanding how prenatal exposure to chemicals influences health outcomes. I hope to learn how to secure and manage independent funding for those research questions.”

Dussault graduated with a doctoral degree in the Department of Epidemiology in 2022 and is exploring psychosocial factors that influence preventative health behaviors in her fellowship with Institut Pasteur.

“One of the main projects I’m working on right now is understanding the role of certain interventions that could increase HPV vaccine uptake among adolescents here in France,” Dussault said. “And in my business courses, I am most interested in developing more communication skills. Sometimes researchers are so focused on one topic that we don’t always know what ideas are common knowledge and how to effectively communicate them. It’s particularly useful since I’m interested in health behavior and understanding how communication can influence the way people receive information and act on it.”

Clark and Dussault’s postdoctoral work in Paris will last until 2025, and both are excited to bring the knowledge they receive to further public health work in the United States and abroad.

Read more about the Lady Mireille and Sir Dennis Gillings Global Public Health Fellowships.

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